FIFA President Gianni Infantino is set to ignite new opposition on Friday over his ambition to introduce two money-spinning pet projects — a revamped global club cup and a bold new international championship.
Infantino’s Saudi-backed plans, which have already been harshly criticized, are on the agenda of Friday’s meeting of FIFA’s ruling council.
It is unclear whether the council’s thirty-seven members will vote on the projects, giving world football’s governing body authorization to implement them.
But opponents are already sharpening the knives, deploring the proposed introduction of new competitions in an overcrowded football calendar while also targetting Infantino himself, accused of seeking to win votes ahead of his re-election bid in June next year.
The World Leagues Forum, which groups professional football leagues, has expressed its strong opposition to the proposed Club World Cup format and the Global Nations League in the past.
This week the influential body addressed a letter to Infantino signed by English FA chief Richard Scudamore and his Bundesliga counterpart Christian Seifert among others demanding that no decision be taken in Kigali. It also lamented the lack of any consultation between FIFA and the leagues.
Forum members apparently accuse Infantino of going behind their backs directly to a few top clubs to discuss the plans for the club competition while the European Clubs Association issued an appeal to FIFA several months ago, apparently unheeded, for talks.
UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin has complained of FIFA’s “strange” behavior while UEFA, speaking via the powerful Professional Football Strategic Council (PFSC), issued a statement expressing concern about the whole process.
It said the PFSC “unanimously expressed serious reservations about the process surrounding the FIFAClub World Cup and Global Nations League proposals and in particular the hasty timing and lack of concrete information”.