Football: European Clubs Association to boycott Club World Cup

ECA says its 232 teams will not participate in tournament which starts in 2021

FIFA chief communications officer Fabrice Jouhaud, left, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Photograph: Luis M Alvarez/AP Photo

FIFA chief communications officer Fabrice Jouhaud, left, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Photograph: Luis M Alvarez/AP Photo

 

Fifa will go ahead with a new 24-team Club World Cup starting in 2021, the ruling body’s president Gianni Infantino said on Friday, setting the global body in conflict with Europe’s top clubs.

Infantino, speaking at a news conference, said Fifa had made the decision at its council meeting on Friday.

The competition, however, immediately faced a boycott from Europe’s leading clubs, which include Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The European Clubs Association (ECA), which represents 232 European clubs, including all the leading teams, wrote a letter asking Infantino to not make a decision now and saying they would not take part in the 2021 tournament.

Following Infantino’s announcement, a spokesperson for the ECA said: “ECA clubs will not participate in 2021 CWC and will assess participation in editions of the competition post-2024.”

The tournament would be held instead of the Confederations Cup in June 2021. No host nation has been decided yet, Infantino said.

“We went through a consultation process, spoke with everyone, some agree, others disagree, you have different views and positions,” said Infantino.

“I am feeling very positive from the discussions and I am sure that at the end we will be very happy,” he said.

Multiple sources told Reuters that representatives of Uefa, European football’s governing body, had voted against the plan.

“I understand the situation in Europe with stakeholders, the leagues, the clubs, small clubs, big clubs, the players’ union – it’s more complex than other countries in the world.

“In football we are not waging war against each other – I am confident we can have a good and fruitful cooperation,” he added.

Infantino said he believed a 48-team World Cup in 2022 in Qatar is “feasible”, adding that Fifa would continue to study the options.

“If it happens – fantastic. If it doesn’t happen – fantastic also,” he said.

No decision will be made on expanding that tournament, with possible additional host nations, until June, Infantino said.

The Fifa Council also decided to use VAR video review technology at June’s Women’s World Cup in France.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.