FIFA criticised over tournament expansion
FIFA has been criticised over plans for the expansion of the international and club World Cups, following concerns over an already congested fixture list for top flight clubs.
The plans for the upcoming tournament across Canada, US and Mexico mean there will be 48 teams, rising from 32 in the previous competition.
As a result, there will be an additional knockout game before teams reach the quarter finals, the governing body underlines its ambitions to spread football globally to a wider audience.
Commenting on the expansion, La Liga representatives described the plans as FIFA continuing in its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar.
The competition added that the governing body had shown ‘a complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general’.
FIFA’s plans will only elevate calls from some of the league’s top teams for a breakaway European tournament, which are likely to be led by Spain’s top teams despite La Liga’s vocal opposition.
Further adding fuel to the fire of top flight managers, the governing body has also laid out plans for the growth of the Club World Cup, which could increase to 32 teams.
From 2025, Europe will take 12 spots in the tournament – which would be judged on a club ranking system.
The tournament, however, would only take place every four years, as opposed to the annual competition that is currently on the football calendar.
The governing body has also been accused of neglecting the damage these decisions have on the leagues, highlighting that they weren’t consulted on the changes to football’s key tournaments.
It follows criticism last year from the World Leagues Forum (WLF), an organization representing professional association football leagues, which also took aim at the increase in games touted by the tournament expansions.
The announcement comes after FIFA dropped discussions with Visit Saudi, a controversial commercial partner, regarding sponsoring the Women’s World Cup.