MIAMI (Reuters) – FIFA will go ahead with a new 24-team Club World Cup starting in 2021, its President Gianni Infantino said on Friday, setting the world soccer governing 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.
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The competition, however, immediately faced a boycott from Europe’s leading clubs, which include the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United.
The European Club Association (ECA), which represents 232 European clubs, including all the major teams, wrote a letter asking Infantino not to make a decision now and saying they would not take part in the 2021 tournament.
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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.”
UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, later said it had a duty to protect the health of players and that its members of the FIFA Council had unanimously voted against the proposal.
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“UEFA shares ECA’s view that the International Match Calendar in 2021 does not provide any realistic option to stage a 24-team Club World Cup and that it should furthermore not be played at...
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