EUROPE’S top clubs have refused to take part in Fifa’s planned new Club World Cup.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has won his power battle with Uefa over the proposals and his idea of expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams.
Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin and his allies, including FA chairman Greg Clarke, found themselves outnumbered when all five other Confederations lined up behind Infantino in Miami yesterday.
It means the plans will be agreed in principle at today’s meeting of Fifa’s ruling Council, although a final decision will be taken at the annual Congress in Paris in June.
But in a show of strength, the European Clubs Association, the umbrella group for all the leading clubs, has written to Infantino vowing to have no part in his scheme, due to start with the first 24-team Club World Cup in the summer of 2021.
In a strongly-worded letter, signed by the 15 board members, including Manchester United’s Ed Woodward, the ECA states: “We are firmly against any proposal of a Club World Cup at this point in time and confirm that no ECA clubs would take part in such a competition.”
Alongside United, Chelsea are one of the ECA's founding members that now also include the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur.
Fifa had planned for eight European teams to be part of the new competition, likely to be the best performing teams in Uefa competition over the previous three years.
But without European involvement, which means the absence of the majority of star players who would be expected to be the main attraction, the tournament risks being dead in the water before it has even been confirmed.
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