A “FIFA World Series” involved four-team friendlies in March before major tournaments in even-numbered years, combining the international breaks in September and October into a single block of four domestic matches.
Some of the ideas are not new, but the discussions and announcements in Qatar two days before the World Cup final still caught European football officials by surprise.
“We will now consult on these issues and then work out all the details,” Infantino told a news conference after the 37-member FIFA Council agreed on “strategic principles” for the new competitions.
Members of European Club Association and Europa League teams said they were scrambling to learn the unexpected details of FIFA’s plans.
A 24-team Club World Cup was due to be held in China in 2021, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although no tournament format has been agreed and commercial partners have signed off.
Infantino committed to a 32-team version of FIFA 2 a year and a half after failing to reach a working agreement with the influential ECA in Doha, a week and a day after the proposed Super League project suffered another setback in a Luxembourg court.
“The 32-team tournament will go ahead, and it will really be like a World Cup,” Infantino said of a June-July 2025 event that would require some teams to play six or seven games.
It’s not clear how the teams would qualify for the event — each of which could be worth tens of millions of dollars in prize money — or how many entries each continent would get, though Europe would likely have 12.
“Details, location, etc. still need to be discussed, agreed and decided,” Infantino said.
Former England defender Jamie Carragher, now a British television broadcaster, called it a “ridiculous idea”.
“The players need to rest at some point, they are being treated like cattle,” Carragher he wrote on Twitter. “FIFA hates (the Champions League) and wants something similar. European clubs should boycott it.”
The Women’s Club World Cup is less controversial and has been FIFA’s target since the 2019 World Cup in France. No new details were released Friday.
Citing surprising results at this year’s World Cup, with teams from Europe and South America beating opponents from Africa and Asia, Infantino said FIFA wanted teams from different regions to meet more often.
Space could be found in a busy schedule of international games in years when a World Cup, European Championship or Copa America is scheduled in March, Infantino said.
He proposed a “FIFA World Series” for friendly matches between four teams, each from a different continent.
Drafting a new Fifa-managed schedule to begin in 2025 has been a long-standing issue in the soccer industry, but stalled last year when Infantino became embroiled in the failure to host the World Cup every two years.
FIFA suggested that all qualifying matches for the national team championships be played in two blocks – one in the spring, one in the autumn – to replace the current system of nine double-headers spread over two years.
The latest compromise is a four-game block in the fall, which would close domestic leagues on weekends but mean fewer long-distance return trips for national team players.
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