Federation Internationale de Football Association pursues 48-team 2022 World Cup in Qatar with extra host

Ruben Hill
March 15, 2019

"We wish to restate the position of ECA: (a) ECA is unwilling to consider any new or significantly revised competition prior to a holistic assessment of the IMC (international match calendar) post-2024 being conducted and an agreement as to its underlying principles being reached; and (b) in any event, a Club World Cup in June 2021, as proposed by Federation Internationale de Football Association, is not acceptable in light of the existing competitions and the IMC, which is fixed until 2024". The study identified venues in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that could be used but said Qatar would have to approve which nations it would partner with. "The best teams should have this world platform".

FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced on Friday that it is "feasible" to expand the 2022 World Cup, but that any plans to do so will need to be approved by the FIFA Congress in June. "If the calendar is not modified, of course we can not agree".

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. "We have held some positive, constructive discussions and will continue with this vein.We'll continue our discussions, but it's our responsibility today to take a decision and we have to deal with organization matters".

The ECA represents 232 European clubs, including all the leading clubs who would be expected to feature in a Club World Cup.

"We have to take care of the footballers", Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu told the AP ahead of council meeting. European club seasons typically start around mid-August.

In the first edition, South America would have six slots - one based on previous performances.

"We want to have an exciting competition, we want to have a prestigious competition, we want to have an inclusive competition for clubs and we will have this through the new Club World Cup starting in 2021, so I'm very very happy that this decision has been taken". Three each would go to teams from Africa, Asia and CONCACAF, which represents North and Central America and the Caribbean. Oceania would get one. Winners of the eight three-team groups would advance to the quarterfinals.

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.

Infantino also provided an update on organization of the upcoming Women's World Cup, saying that the preparations were going well.

VAR made its World Cup debut at the men's tournament in Russian Federation past year. Video assistant referees likely will include men helping advise all-female teams of referees and assistants.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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