European football rejects FIFA Nations League plans
FIFA president Gianni Infantino will revisit the idea during the governing body’s upcoming council meeting in Miami next month, as he sets out once again his vision a new international format that would effectively create an extension to UEFA’s Nation’s League.
However, following discussions in Nyon on Monday, Europe’s Professional Football Strategy Council have banded against the proposal, which was first put forward by Infantino last March but drew opposition from UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
In a statement, the council – which comprises European soccer’s governing body, the European Club Association (ECA), and European Leagues – said that it was “adamant that the current proposals are unacceptable as they stand”.
It continued to say: “They were of the unequivocal view that any decision on potential new competitions can only be made as part of an agreed framework for the international match calendar post-2024.
"Furthermore, all related sporting and commercial matters must be fully disclosed and discussed amongst professional football stakeholders beforehand."
The announcement followed reports that UEFA had registered a logo and a trademark related to the Nations League. In December Europe’s governing body registered trademarks for ‘Global Nations League’ and ‘World Nations League’ in the US, according to The Times news paper, having earlier made similar registrations in the European Union.
In addition, the world players' union FIFPro, which is also represented on the council said that it "was not in a position to publicly comment" on proposed new competitions.
Since being appointed as FIFA president, Infantino has introduced several plans to shake the structure of its global tournaments.
They include a proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 for its 2026 edition, which will be co-hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada.
It remains a possibility that the expansion could be brought forward for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with a decision expected next month.
Infantino’s plans to revamp FIFA's Club World Cup competition had received a US$25 billion pledge by a combination of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and the United Arab Emirates, according to reports.
UEFA refused to back the idea in November last year after Infantino put forward potential formats during the FIFA Council meeting last October. The matter was shelved but not thrown out, with the view to revisit Fifa’s plans during the council’s gathering next month.
In light of UEFA's latest refusal, Ceferin may have to return to the drawing board to consider alternative ways to boost FIFA's revenues when he is re-elected unopposed in June.
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