Top clubs slam FIFA’s ‘destructive’ WC plans

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Europe’s big clubs have accused FIFA of attempting to railroad through plans for a biennial World Cup that they claim would have a destructive impact on the club game.

The European Club Association, which represents 234 clubs believes there has been a clear lack of consultation over proposed reforms to the International Match Calendar (IMC).

FIFA president Gianni Infantino is keen to introduce a World Cup every two years and that view has been supported in a series of interviews, including from the organisation’s chief of Global Football Development and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The ECA released a statement Friday morning describing this as a coordinated campaign and potentially in breach of a memorandum of understanding that governs the clubs’ relationship with FIFA over any significant changes.

“ECA has been clear in its position that changes are needed to the IMC,” read the statement. “A modernised and simpler IMC needs to be founded on fewer release windows; better player protection and health; and a balanced approach to club and international football.

“To that end, ECA has made clear — publicly, privately and repeatedly — its availability to engage with FIFA to agree what those changes should be.

“ECA has therefore followed with grave concern and alarm FIFA’s launch of active PR campaigns and much pretence, apparently seeking to railroad through reforms to the IMC, particularly the introduction of a biennial World Cup.

“Aside from the notable lack of genuine [or indeed any] consultation, and as many stakeholders have pointed out in recent days, FIFA’s proposals would lead to a direct and destructive impact on the club game, both domestically and internationally.

“In addition, the proposals would put players’ health and wellbeing at risk. They would dilute the value and meaning of club and country competitions.”

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By FARPost Reporter