Infantino To ‘Respect’ Any Ethics Committee Decision – FIFA

Qatar Must Host Best World Cup Ever, Infantino Warns
In this file photo taken on March 18, 2016 FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference following an executive meeting of the world football governing body at its headquarters in Zurich. 
MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

 

 

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino will “respect any decision by the ethics committee”, world football’s governing body said Monday after Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against him last week. 

A Swiss special prosecutor has launched proceedings against Infantino, as part of an investigation into suspected collusion with the country’s attorney general, Michael Lauber. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

“I’ve no doubt that Gianni Infantino would respect any decision by the ethics commission,” FIFA deputy secretary general Alasdair Bell told a video news conference. “We don’t see any evidence of criminal or unethical behaviour,” he said.

FIFA on Sunday insisted Infantino would continue to fulfil his duties as president and blasted the Swiss probe.

 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup. RHONA WISE / AFP.
FILE PHOTO: FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

 

It gave no indication on Monday whether or not its ethics committee had instigated proceedings against Infantino.

“The ethics committee will have to come to its own conclusion… In every case, it needs to be tested, if there’s something serious, there’s a case for suspension,” said Bell.

Questioned about Infantino’s absence during Monday’s video conference, Bell said the FIFA chief “will be available and will speak in order to clear his name.”

He added: “FIFA and Gianni Infantino have absolutely nothing to hide, we want to be transparent. There’s no factual basis for this criminal procedure.”

Infantino and Lauber are said to have held a series of meetings in 2016 and 2017.

Two such meetings were initially exposed in 2018 by “Football Leaks”, a cross-border investigation by several European news organisations.

In a statement Thursday, Swiss authorities said special prosecutor Stefan Keller “has reached the conclusion that…there are indications of criminal conduct” in relation to meetings between Infantino, Lauber and another official, Rinaldo Arnold.

“This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts,” the authorities said.

Lauber, who offered his resignation on July 24, was in charge of Switzerland’s probe into the towering corruption scandal that exploded at the heart of Zurich-based FIFA in 2015.

But he was forced to recuse himself from the investigation in June 2019, following media revelations that he had held several undeclared meetings with Infantino during the probe.

Switzerland has pursued a number of cases since a raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich in May 2015 led to the arrests of a several FIFA executives and exposed an allegedly corrupt underbelly in world football.

In total, more than 20 FIFA proceedings have been opened in Switzerland over the past five years into allegations of corruption and vote-buying, and allegations over the awarding of television rights contracts.

AFP

FIFA President Infantino Faces Swiss Criminal Probe

 

File photo: FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

 

A Swiss special prosecutor has launched criminal proceedings against FIFA president Gianni Infantino, authorities in Switzerland said Thursday, as part of an investigation into suspected collusion between him and the country’s Attorney General, Michael Lauber.

In a statement, authorities said special prosecutor Stefan Keller “has reached the conclusion that…there are indications of criminal conduct” in relation to meetings between Infantino, Lauber and another official, Rinaldo Arnold.

“This concerns abuse of public office, breach of official secrecy, assisting offenders and incitement to these acts,” the authorities said.

Infantino has not denied that the meetings took place and continued to defend his actions.

“To meet with the Attorney General of Switzerland is perfectly legitimate and it’s perfectly legal,” he said in a statement released by FIFA.

“It’s no violation of anything. On the contrary, it is also part of the fiduciary duties of the president of FIFA.”

 

File photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during the inauguration of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on October 30, 2018. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

Lauber resigned last week over his handling of a corruption investigation targeting world football’s troubled governing body.

Infantino and Lauber are said to have held a series of meetings in 2016 and 2017.

Two such meetings were initially exposed in 2018 by “Football Leaks”, a cross-border investigation by several European news organisations.

Like Infantino, Lauber has denied any wrongdoing.

Lauber was in charge of Switzerland’s probe into the corruption scandal that exploded at the heart of FIFA in 2015.

The scandal erupted when Swiss police in May that year raided a luxury hotel in Zurich before dawn, arresting a number of top football officials.

The Swiss judiciary under Lauber quickly opened criminal proceedings against then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter and other top officials.

 

File photo: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter gestures during a press conference in Zurich on March 8, 2018. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Blatter was eventually removed in 2015 and Infantino took over as FIFA president in 2016.

“It has been my aim from day one, and it remains my aim, to assist the authorities with investigating past wrongdoings at FIFA,” Infantino insisted.

“FIFA officials have met with prosecutors in other jurisdictions across the world for exactly these purposes.

“People have been convicted and sentenced, thanks to FIFA’s cooperation, and especially in the United States of America, where our cooperation has resulted in over 40 criminal convictions.

“Therefore, I remain fully supportive of the judicial process, and FIFA remains willing to fully cooperate with the Swiss authorities for these purposes.”

Lauber, 54, has denied accusations that he lied about the meetings but is also under criminal investigation.

A Swiss parliamentary commission decided in May to open proceedings against Lauber over “well-founded suspicion of serious violation of the duties of office either intentionally or by gross negligence”, which risked seeing him sacked.

Previously Lauber had been docked five percent of his salary — reduced from eight percent on appeal — following a disciplinary probe which found that he had repeatedly lied when questions were raised about the FIFA investigation.

Arnold, meanwhile, is a childhood friend of Infantino’s who went on to become a senior prosecutor in Switzerland’s Haut-Valais region where they grew up.

In April a Swiss newspaper, the Tribune de Geneve, alleged that Infantino wrote to Arnold after becoming “worried” about an investigation into him by the country’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in relation to his awarding of a television rights contract to an offshore company in his previous role as UEFA’s legal affairs director.

FIFA responded to that report by saying that emails referred to in the newspaper’s article were “obviously obtained by hacking, which is an illegal and criminal act.”

AFP

 

FIFA Says Transfer Window Can Open Before End Of Season

File: FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

FIFA will allow leagues to open their transfer windows before the current, delayed season has been completed as football recovers from the impact of the lengthy coronavirus shutdown, the game’s world governing body announced on Thursday.

FIFA has passed a series of temporary amendments to help deal with the havoc to the football calendar caused by the health crisis.

Most notably, these include allowing the “first registration period” — better known in Europe as the summer transfer window — to “overlap” with the delayed end to this season by up to four weeks.

In normal circumstances, the transfer window does not open until the season has been completed, but many leagues are only just restarting having been halted in March, and will not now finish in many cases until late July.

However, while transfers will be permitted before this season ends, clubs will not be able to field new signings until the next season begins.

The same rule will apply to players moving under freedom of contract.

The transfer window can stay open for up to 12 weeks.

Earlier on Thursday, the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, indicated that the window in Spain would only open once the season has been completed and run from late July to early October.

Previously, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said that the window in England will also only open once the season has finished.

In France, where the season was declared over in late April at the height of the pandemic, the domestic transfer window opened on Monday.

In the case of players whose existing contracts are due to expire before what will now be the end of this season, FIFA has called on clubs to extend those deals “in good faith and on terms that are equitable and reasonable.”

Many players in Europe are set to be out of contract on June 30, several weeks before the campaign now concludes.

FIFA has also recommended that players who have signed pre-contract agreements to join new clubs on July 1 be allowed to stay at their current clubs until the season ends.

Meanwhile, it has also introduced an amendment allowing players who are free agents to play for three different clubs in the course of the same season “in order to avoid any concerns regarding unemployed players”.

Usually players can only represent two clubs in the same season.

AFP

COVID-19: ‘No Match Worth Risking A Life,’ Says FIFA Boss Infantino

File: FIFA president Gianni Infantino holds a press conference at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 13, 2018, two days before the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia. PHOTO: Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Friday said that “no match” is worth “risking a single human life” and that world football’s governing body would be able to help financially national federations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of top football leagues and international competitions have been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Infantino insisted that games would not resume until it was safe.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Must Be Ready For Return To ‘Normality’ – Solskjaer

“Our first priority, our principle, the one we will use for our competitions and encourage everyone to follow is that health comes first,” he said in a video message.

“I cannot stress this enough. No match, no competition, no league is worth risking a single human life.”

The German Bundesliga reportedly could restart behind closed doors in May, with players already back in training, while other leagues could also resume in the summer.

“It would be more than irresponsible to force competitions to resume if things are not 100% safe,” added Infantino.

“If we have to wait a little longer we must do so. It’s better to wait a little bit longer than to take any risks.”

Infantino said that national football associations which are struggling financially would receive help from FIFA’s emergency relief fund.

FIFA last week postponed all international matches scheduled for June.

“We are today in a very strong financial situation,” Infantino said.

“But our reserves are not FIFA’s money. It is football’s money. So when football is in need, we must think what we can do to help… It is our responsibility and our duty.”

FIFA To Invest $1Billion In Women’s Football In The Next Four Years – Infantino

File photo of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. PHOTO: Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

FIFA will double its funding for women’s football to $1 billion over the next four years, president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday following a meeting of the world governing body’s council.

“The Council decided to put 500 million in addition to the 500 million already budgeted,” Infantino told reporters in Shanghai.

FIFA had earlier this week said it is hoping to renegotiate contracts already signed for the next women’s World Cup in 2023 as it looks to increase the amount of money going to players, sources have told AFP.

“FIFA plan to renegotiate contracts for the women’s World Cup in order to offer much greater bonuses to players,” a source said ahead of a FIFA Council meeting in Shanghai on Thursday.

Women’s football will feature heavily on the agenda at the meeting as world football’s governing body plans to increase the number of competing teams at the World Cup to 32, up from 24 at this year’s tournament in France.

Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, has already promised to double the prize fund for the next tournament having initially raised overall contributions from $15 million to $50 million in time for this year’s competition.

The money will come from the organisation’s vast cash reserves of more than $2.7 billion. “We don’t need all this money in the Swiss banks, they have enough money,” said Infantino in July.

In addition, FIFA are also exploring the possibility of creating a women’s World League — along the lines of UEFA’s Nations League — as well as a Club World Cup for women.

A decision on the creation of these tournaments will be made in March next year.

Thursday’s meeting will also see FIFA appoint a host for the 2021 men’s Club World Cup, which will feature 24 teams for the first time.

AFP

‘I Want To Sue Him’: Blatter To Target Infantino, FIFA

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter speaks during an interview with AFP on May 28, 2019 in Zurich./ AFP

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino is running unopposed in his bid for a second term as the head of world football’s governing body, but that does not mean everyone approves of his job performance.

Least of all his predecessor, Sepp Blatter, who led FIFA from 1998 to 2015, when he was forced out in disgrace amid a global corruption scandal.

“I want to sue him,” Blatter said of Infantino, the man he blames for a host of offences — both personal and in his stewardship of FIFA, where Blatter worked for 41 years.

In an interview with AFP, Blatter accused Infantino and FIFA of failing to return personal items that he left in his old office and of unfairly implicating him in financial misconduct.

READ ALSO: EU To Demand Clarifications From Italy Over Budge

Blatter said he wants an admission that he has been “hurt” by FIFA.

“Both me and my family, my entire entourage, by saying that this guy was using (FIFA) like a piggy bank. This is a question of honour,” Blatter said.

Blatter, who like Infantino is a Swiss national, remains the target of a criminal investigation in Switzerland, but the case has not yet come to court after nearly four years of investigation.

Blatter particularly disputes allegations by FIFA that he received a 12 million Swiss franc ($12 million, 10.6 million euros) bonus following the 2014 World Cup.

He said his suit against FIFA and Infantino would be filed “before the end of the month.”

– ‘Curious’ meetings –
The Swiss case against Blatter has been clouded in recent weeks by the opening of a disciplinary investigation targeting the man leading the probe, the country’s attorney general Michael Lauber.

Lauber has reportedly met Infantino informally three times, which raised eyebrows because FIFA is directly implicated in the Swiss investigation.

The meetings between Lauber and Infantino were set up by Rinaldo Arnold, a prosector in the southern Swiss canton of Valais and a childhood friend of the current FIFA president.

Blatter said the relationship between Arnold and Infantino was “a major question mark.”

After Lauber’s first two meetings with Infantino came to light, he told an oversight body that there were no other meetings.

Then, weeks later, Swiss media reported a third meetings, which triggered the disciplinary probe.

“It’s a general amnesia in Switzerland,” Blatter said regarding the apparent lapses in the attorney general’s account, describing the entire ordeal as “curious.”

Turning to the governance of world football, Blatter accused Infantino of conducting himself with “a lack of transparency,” especially concerning plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams.

“This is what (Infantino) was preaching, to be the man of transparency. But it is not enough to look transparent,” Blatter said.

FIFA has confirmed the tournament will expand from 32 to 48 for the World Cup the North America World Cup in 2026, but a tentative plan to enlarge Qatar 22 has been scrapped.

Infantino Sole Candidate For FIFA Presidency In June Vote

n this file photo taken on January 17, 2019 FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference during the FIFA Executive Football Summit in the central Moroccan city of Marrakech.

 

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, is set to serve a second term after world football’s governing body said on Wednesday he would be the only candidate for June’s vote.

The 48-year-old has been in charge of FIFA since February 2016, after succeeding the disgraced Sepp Blatter following the corruption scandal which rocked the organisation.

The election will take place on June 5 in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup.

Former Tottenham defender Ramon Vega had announced his intention to stand against Infantino but failed to garner the required support of five of FIFA’s 211 member federations.

READ ALSO: FIFA To Decide On 48-Team World Cup In March – Infantino

Infantino has introduced plans to increase the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 from 2026, with the possibility to bring forward the expansion to the 2022 edition in Qatar.

A decision is expected to be taken next March after a study into the feasibility of holding an extended tournament in the Gulf state.

Michel Platini’s former right-hand man at UEFA is also hoping for an enlarged, 24-team Club World Cup from 2021.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin of Slovenia, who will be re-elected on Thursday also as the sole candidate, is opposed to the idea.

Infantino Condemns ‘Idiots’ For Ruining Copa Libertadores Party

FIFA president Gianni Infantino/ AFP

 

FIFA President Gianni Infantino lamented that “idiots ruined the party” for everyone after the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final was moved to Madrid following fan violence.

The match between Buenos Aires arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate was originally scheduled for November 24 at River’s Monumental stadium but was postponed after Boca players were injured when their team bus was attacked by home fans throwing projectiles.

“I was here last Saturday,” Infantino said at a  press conference at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. “It was a sad moment for everyone. It is a football match. It is not a war, not even a battle.”

“We have to work to find out who are the people to blame. You have to identify them and get them out (of football),” said Infantino.

“I hope this does not happen any longer,” he said. “This story must mark the end of one chapter and the start of a new one.”

South American football’s governing body Conmebol on Thursday confirmed that the match would be played on December 9 at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

“All the leaders of G20 are interested in football and they see the potential of football,” Infantino said. “Football is the only truly global sport.”

Infantino Backtracks On Expanded World Cup In Qatar

FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during the inauguration of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on October 30, 2018. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino all but wrote off the chances of an expanded 48-team competition at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Wednesday.

Last month Infantino told the Asian Football Confederation’s annual congress in Kuala Lumpur that increasing the number of teams from the 32 that made up the tournament in Russia this year was “feasible”.

However, he appeared to backtrack on that during an interview with AFP and other media in Zurich.

“I haven’t changed my mind,” said Infantino.

“I was positive about it from the beginning because I think if we can increase the number of teams it is good for football. That is why we are going to do it for the 2026 World Cup.

“Can we do it for 2022? It is a difficult challenge.”

Accommodating another 16 teams would vastly complicate Qatar’s task in preparing for the World Cup, which was awarded to the tiny desert state in 2010.

“We are in discussion with Qatar,” said Infantino, who said the tournament would need to spread to neighbouring countries.

“It will be a very, very difficult challenge to do it only in Qatar.

“So personally, as president of FIFA, I would be very happy if some matches could be shared with some countries in the region.”

The question of regional cooperation has been complicated by Qatar’s stand-off with neighbours Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, who have cut off diplomatic relations and imposed a blockade on the resource-rich country, accusing it of endorsing terror activities.

“In the light of current circumstances in the region I would be even happier if it could happen,” he said.

“Football unites, builds bridges, that could be a concrete result.

“What are the chances? Certainly small but what is wrong in discussing it?” said Infantino.

A final decision will be made in March at the next FIFA Council in Miami before the draws for qualifying are made.

AFP

UEFA, PSG, Man City Targeted In Football Leaks’ Revelations

UEFA helped Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City get around their own Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to a Football Leaks investigation published on Friday.

According to the investigation of “more than 70 million documents” analysed “over eight months by 80 journalists” from members of European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), UEFA “knowingly helped the clubs to cover up their own irregularities for ‘political reasons'”.

Both clubs, owned and bankrolled by wealth from Qatar and Abu Dhabi respectively, have avoided the most severe Financial Fair Play punishment of being excluded from the UEFA Champions League.

That is despite using “forbidden money” to inflate their budgets, according to the investigation.

Football Leaks claims Qatar and Abu Dhabi combined “have injected some 4.5 billion euros ($5.1 billion) in the last seven years” to increase the budgets of the clubs they own. Of that figure, 2.7 billion euros has been into City, via their Abu-Dhabi owners and from allegedly “overestimated” sponsorship deals.

READ ALSO: Football Leaks Shines Light On Infantino’s Relationship With Swiss Prosecutor

UEFA rules state that clubs cannot spend more than they earn in any given season and deficits must fall within a 30-million-euro limit over three seasons.

Both PSG and City were fined 60 million euros by UEFA in May 2014, but both were told they would get 40 million euros of that back if they stuck to the terms of their settlement.

French investigative website Mediapart claims Gianni Infantino — the current FIFA president who was then UEFA’s general secretary — “directly negotiated an agreement with Manchester City”, bypassing the Financial Control Panel of European football’s governing body.

Included in copy in emails sent by Infantino to City’s chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president and a PSG fan but who also reportedly helped City’s Abu-Dhabi owners in their attempts to get around FFP rules.

Asked for a reaction by Mediapart, City said “the attempt to damage the reputation of the club is organised and clear.”

PSG said in a statement that it has “always complied strictly with the laws and regulations in force and strongly denies the allegations published today by Mediapart”.

Meanwhile, Platini said that his FFP rules were not set up “to kill or strangle clubs financially” even if he always wanted punishments to be handed out.

PSG have been the subject of another UEFA investigation ever since coming under pressure from some of Europe’s footballing elite when the French champions signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record 222 million euros ($264 million) in August 2017.

In late September UEFA said it had referred the accusations against the Paris club to its financial unit “for further investigation”. PSG’s case, though, is complicated by lucrative sponsorship deals with the Qatar National Bank and the Gulf state’s tourism authority.

The Football Leaks investigation points the finger at PSG’s five-year agreement with the Qatar Tourism Authority, valued at 1.075 billion euros, or 215 million euros a year.

That is despite the investigation claiming that “two independent auditors (Repucom and Octagon) assigned by UEFA valued the contract at…123,000 euros per year for one, and 2.8 million euros a year for the other”.

AFP

Football Leaks Shines Light On Infantino’s Relationship With Swiss Prosecutor

FIFA President Gianni Infantino.                                                                       Photo: Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s “suspicious friendship” with Swiss prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold was brought to light in Football Leaks revelations published on Friday by a consortium of European media, including the French investigative website Mediapart.

According to European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), “invitations” were given to the chief prosecutor of the Haut-Valais region of Switzerland for the match between the Swiss and Costa Rica at this year’s World Cup as well as the FIFA Congress in Mexico in May 2016 and the Champions League final in Milan the same month.

“Thanks very much for the tickets for the Champions League final. My youngest son will go with my wife,” Arnold wrote to Infantino in an email in May 2016.

Questioned by the EIC, FIFA responded that the organisation’s rules allow “the president and general secretary to invite a certain number of guests to tournaments and FIFA events”.

The EIC claims that Arnold would provide Infantino with details of ongoing investigations by Swiss prosecutors, including in the wake of the Panama Papers leak in 2016, when UEFA was investigated for signing a television deal with an offshore company.

Cristiano Ronaldo reached an agreement with Spanish authorities to pay 16.7 million euros ($19 million) to settle a tax fraud claim that followed a previous Football Leaks investigation in 2016.

AFP

FIFA Chief Heading For Trouble Over Pet Projects

In this file photo taken on March 18, 2016, FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives a press conference following an executive meeting of the world football governing body at its headquarters in Zurich. Infantino will attend the FIFA council opening in Kigali on October 26, 2018.
MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

 

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 37 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”.

walkout? 

The 17-member PFSC is led by Ceferin and includes Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain, and Ed Woodward, vice-chairman of Manchester United, two clubs who attended a meeting at which Infantino presented his plans to Europe’s biggest clubs.

An ill feeling has reached a point where UEFA delegates may even stage a walkout if their views go unheeded at Friday’s Council meeting, according to the New York Times this week.

Infantino is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format, 12 of them European. Currently, the competition which elicits little interest outside of Latin America is played every year.

His other project is to launch a biennial league tournament for nations, the Global Nations League, a sort of mini-World Cup with eight national teams competing.

Infantino says he has an offer of $25 billion over 12 years for the two competitions from a group of investors, which the Financial Times has identified as SoftBank from Japan, backed by Saudi Arabia among others.

That money, he promises, will be redistributed to clubs and continental football federations.

Football historian Paul Dietschy told AFP the new club competition was clearly an attempt to pull the rug from under UEFA’s highly lucrative Champions League.

“The Champions League will survive,” he said, but FIFA” will snatch away some of its income.”

AFP