Monday, 25 March, 2019

FIFA, Qatar to work on 48-team World Cup

Shutterstock_1084518398 FIFA mulls proposal for 24-team Club World Cup; Concacaf would get 3 slots
Rita Gibson | 16 March, 2019, 14:14

"We want to have an exciting competition, a presitigous competition, an inclusive competition for clubs, and we will have this for the new Club World Cup", FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

Federation Internationale de Football Association will go ahead with a new 24-team Club World Cup starting in 2021, its President Gianni Infantino said yesterday, setting the world soccer governing body in conflict with Europe's top clubs.

The FIFA council confirmed on Friday that they would work with Qatar over a possible expansion that would be achieved with the introduction of a co-host, with a feasibility study showing it can be done.

But Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE would only be candidates if their governments ended a diplomatic blockade of Qatar launched in 2017, the study said.

"We have the duty to look into it, 90 percent are in favour of an increase but it's not as easy as that". But it's not as easy as that.

"But it was our responsibility to take a decision because we have to deal with the organisational matters - it is only two years away".

After coming under pressure from human rights groups since winning FIFA's hosting rights vote in 2010, Qatar was forced to improve worker rights and improve labour conditions.

Qatar is working to complete eight stadiums for a 64-match schedule. "Then together, with our partners from Qatar, we will present eventually a proposal in this respect". "I was very pleased by the reaction of Qatar".

Therefore, the FIFA Council agreed to extend the mandate of the FIFA Task Force for Future Competitions to continue exploring the idea of a worldwide Nations League, with no specific time frame having been set at this stage. If it happens, fantastic. At least we don't have regrets that we didn't analyze this question.

Neymar investigated by UEFA
Marcus Rashford rifled the spot kick past the PSG goalkeeper Gigi Buffon to seal a 3-1 victory and passage into the last eight. UEFA today confirmed they are launching an investigation into Neymar's comments via a statement on their website.

"We know the situation in the Gulf region", added Infantino.

FIFA, meanwhile, have been told that the leading European clubs will boycott a Club World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 2021 which was also given the go-ahead at the meeting in Florida.

It has been suggested each club could earn £50m from taking part.

The Club World Cup fills the slot previously reserved for the Confederations Cup, which had served as a test event in a host nation a year before the World Cup.

According to Reuters, the letter has been signed by officials from clubs including Manchester United, Barcelona and Dutch giants Ajax.

The ECA executive board letter said it was "against any potential approval of a revised CWC at this point in time and confirm that no ECA Clubs would take part to such competition".

And after hearing Infantino's announcement on Friday, the ECA issued a statement saying its clubs would not participate in 2021. But it is hard to see how a 2021 edition could go ahead without the star attractions - Europe's top clubs. "We have held some positive, constructive discussions and will continue with this vein".

"I am always happy but especially today because we have taken some important decisions".

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