FIFA set up task force over new tournament plans

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KIGALI (Reuters) – FIFA have set up a task force to examine president Gianni Infantino’s plans for a new Club World Cup and Global Nations League, avoiding a damaging split with UEFA over the controversial proposals.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland September 26, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Infantino told a news conference that the task force would present its findings at a council meeting in Miami on March 14.

“On the topic that heated some of the media, we have taken a decision to create a task force at least,” said Infantino, who had intended to put his plans to a vote on Friday.

“We have taken a decision to establish a task force to bolster the consultation process, the prospects of a revamped FIFA Club World Cup and worldwide Nations League, to discuss and make concrete proposals,” Infantino said.

Infantino’s plans had been opposed by the World Leagues Forum and the European Leagues, representing the top club competitions internationally, who had urged the FIFA chief to step back from a quick vote.

European governing body UEFA had also been vocal in their criticism of the plans after details emerged in May, raising the prospect of a split in the global game.

Infantino said the task force would “work on details of these competitions which are of high interest in many parts of the world where some agree, others disagree”.

“There are different points of views, different opinions. It’s perfectly normal,” Infantino said, adding that he welcomed proposals and ideas for the tournaments.

Infantino’s plans for the Club World Cup have included holding the tournament every four years with 24 teams and also an idea for an annual competition.

The Nations League format began under UEFA’s auspices in Europe in September while CONCACAF, in North and Central America and the Caribbean, has also begun a Nations League tournament.

Infantino’s idea is for a ‘Final Eight’ tournament bringing together the winners of various continental Nations League competitions.

“Two confederations already have Nations League, for which rights are already sold, in particular when it comes to Europe until 2022. But others don’t,” said the FIFA president.

“But there are certainly ways and possibilities to look into seeing what can be done maybe already in other parts… or maybe the whole world after 2022. We are open to every idea and every proposal.”

(This story has been refilled to fix byline)

Writing by Simon Evans; editing by Clare Fallon

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