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Thursday, 24 May 2018

UEFA council has 'serious reservations' over process surrounding FIFA plans

Reuters , Wednesday 16 May 2018
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A UEFA council featuring representatives of players, leagues and clubs from across Europe complained on Wednesday that world soccer body FIFA had gone over their heads in drawing up proposals for two ambitious new global competitions.

The Professional Football Strategy Council (PSFC) said it had "serious reservations" about the whole process and criticised "the hasty timing and lack of concrete information" from the sport's governing organisation.

FIFA has proposed creating a 24-team Club World Cup tournament to be staged every four years as well as a Global Nations League which would culminate in an eight-team tournament -- effectively a mini-World Cup -- every two years.

According to a FIFA report seen by Reuters, the two tournaments, backed by a consortium of private investors, are expected to generate at least $25 billion over a 12-year cycle.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been trying to rush through the proposals in the already hectic period leading up to this year's World Cup in Russia.

Following a meeting in Lyon, the PFSC said its members had not been properly consulted and added in a statement that it "unanimously expressed serious reservations about the process surrounding the FIFA Club World Cup and Global Nations League proposals."

It criticised "the hasty timing and lack of concrete information and underlined the need for a clearly defined procedure, which respect existing structures and decision-making bodies and which involves all key stakeholders."

"Such proposals must be considered as part of a global reflection on the overall international match calendar and cannot be decided upon in isolation," the statement added.

The PFSC comment suggested an increasing split between FIFA and European soccer body UEFA.

FIFA has already met individual clubs to discuss the proposals and Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno has said that the European champions support the plans.

The tournaments could be approved at a FIFA Council meeting in Moscow in June. FIFA did not immediately comment on a report in the Financial Times that it was planning a special meeting before that.

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