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Football leagues oppose FIFA projects

May 05, 2018 00:00:00

LAUSANNE, May 4 (AFP): Europe's professional football leagues said Thursday they opposed FIFA plans to expand tournaments at club and international level.

European Leagues (EL), which represents the regions' top domestic competitions, said in a statement the FIFA drive to introduce a new Global Nations League and a revamped Club World Cup had opened a "can of worms."

"This process reminds me of the way the 'old FIFA' acted which I thought we had left behind," said EL president Lars-Christer Olsson, in an apparent dig at the champion of the new events, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino.

He took over the FIFA reins in 2016 promising to clean up an organisation undermined by a major corruption scandal that cost his predecessor Sepp Blatter his job.

"What we have experienced is a clear lack of consultation and transparency, and an intentional manipulation of the decision-making structure by FIFA in presenting these proposals," added Olsson in a statement.

It said the leagues "firmly opposed" the plans amid concern about an already crowded calendar and the fear that cash generated would enrich elite clubs at the expense of others, further upsetting the balance in domestic league competitions.

Infantino is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format rather than retaining it as an annual event.

At the same time, he hopes to launch a biennial league tournament for nations, the Global Nations League, grouping eight teams including the winners of international competitions in each of FIFA's regional confederations.

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