Federation Internationale de Football Association votes for new Club World Cup, Euro clubs confirm boycott

Tanya Simon
March 16, 2019

"We have to take care of the footballers", Bartomeu said in an interview with The Associated Press in Miami, where the FIFA Council is meeting.

The new competition is expected to include eight teams from Europe.

Infantino said five members of the Council did not attend the meeting, the first for FIFA's leadership in the USA since American law enforcement arrested numerous sport's top officials in 2015 on corruption charges.

Gianni Infantino, the Federation Internationale de Football Association president, defied prior warnings that he faced a near-impossible diplomatic job to find a neighbouring nation to share hosting duties in the Middle East as he said an initial feasibility study showed it was possible for 48 teams to compete in 2022.

World football's governing body voted to expand the 2026 World Cup - which will be hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States - to 48 teams in 2017. Three each would go to teams from Africa, Asia and CONCACAF, which represents North and Central America.

It will run every four years and take place from June to July in the slot now used for the World Cup warm-up event, the Confederations Cup.

European clubs have publicly resisted FIFA's bid to replace the current seven-team annual Club World Cup, which is played annually in December, with an expanded quadrennial version in June-July.

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The Fifa Council has approved working with Qatar to explore expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams by adding at least one more country in the Persian Gulf to host matches.

The letter, viewed by the AP, was signed by top executives from 14 leading European clubs, including ECA head Andrea Agnelli of Juventus.

An ECA spokesman told AFP: "ECA clubs will not participate in the Club World Cup in 2021 and will assess participation in the Club World Cup in 2024". "If it doesn't happen, fantastic also", said Infantino.

The letter, sections of which were published in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung says they are "firmly against any approval of a revised Club World Cup at this point in time and confirm that no ECA clubs would take part to such a competition".

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

No venue has been mentioned for the inaugural tournament, but it is scheduled to take the slot now reserved for the Confederations Cup in 2021.

Video assistant referees have also been approved for this year's Women's World Cup, which starts in France on June 7.

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