AAP Soccer

Euro clubs to boycott new Club World Cup

By AAP Newswire

FIFA will go ahead with a new 24-team Club World Cup from 2021, President Gianni Infantino says, setting the global body in conflict with Europe's elite.

Infantino 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 the likes of 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 not make a decision now and confirming they wouldn't 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.

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," Infantino said.

"In football we are not waging war against each other."

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

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.