Against the resistance from Europe Fifa president Infantino expresses his wishes at the Council meeting – a reformed club World Cup as well as a World Cup increase. But the sense of triumph he feels is deceptive.
Was Gianni Infantino different? A grin on his face, chin outstretched, he spread his arms, propped them on his hips, he bobbed and spun in the chair behind the conference table at the Fifa Convention Hotel in Miami. Then, when he raved about his recent G20 World Leadership Social Unit and quoted Donald Trump – "Make America great again!" – There was a short-term danger that the boss of the World Football Association would start directly through the ceiling. On and on up into those Elysian climes that, like him, undoubtedly deserve.
Fifa's picturesque triumph on Friday afternoon local time was fueled by the fact that his council had advocated an inflation of 2022 in Qatar to 48 teams – and that its dependent on the Fifa development aid entourage from Vanuatu, Burundi and by the Turks & Caicos Islands co-opted the board colleagues from Europe when it came to a reformed club World Cup with 24 teams. This format should now start in the middle of 2021 as a pilot project, it went as expected as well as the Qatar supplement.
FIFA has no leverage to force European clubs into competition
There is only one major problem: European clubs do not want to join Infantino's Night and Mist Project. They had made that clear to him in a letter to their club association ECA before the Miami meeting. And so on Friday night, while Infantino lived out his presidential sense of happiness in the upscale beach resort of Ritz Carlton, they explicitly stated that the new format could be stolen from them. "We will not participate in this new club World Cup in 2021," said ECA spokesman David Frommer on Friday evening on SZ request: "As for new competitions, we will not even consider them until 2024 if the current one is up Match Calendar is finished. " Frommer made it clear that the ECA "does not accept this decision and continues to represent the position that we have made clear before the meeting with a letter".
In fact, the ECA had even sent a letter to the FIFA boss, denouncing not only his projects, but also Infantino's autocratic business style, which referred to intransparency and lack of governance. In this respect, the meeting in Miami has not shown the great fraternization of the football world, as Infantino later presented in his press conference, but rather the opposite. At its meeting in Amsterdam at the end of March, ECA spokesman Frommer said, the European club association would make a "thorough assessment" of the Fifa decision. In any case, there is no legal instrument for the World Federation to compel European clubs to compete.
And certainly not after the continental union, the European Union Uefa, has clearly opposed the format and wants to continue to express this attitude with determination towards the World Federation Fifa.
A dubious-looking Fifa feasibility study
On the other hand, Infantino has announced that Fifa wants to start evaluating the economy of the new format as early as next Monday; that's the only thing in the autocratic football field. However, a club World Cup without participation of the top teams from Europe would be neither one worldchampionship, still economically attractive for leading TV companies and sponsors.
On the razor blade, the man on the Fifa top also rides with his Qatar expansion to 48 participants. Brav was a rather dubious-looking feasibility study dismissed, in which the Fifa – contrary to completely different findings of previous studies – suddenly recognize a gain in quality in it, if in the future, teams from Honduras to Uzbekistan are. It takes little imagination to imagine the background of such expertise ordered by Fifa. Real progress has not been communicated in Miami. One of the many completely unanswered key questions about this Winter Event 2022, which has been inflated from 64 to 80 games, is who should be the much needed co-host.
"My impression is that the political situation leaves it completely open whether there will be an extension of the World Cup in Qatar," said DFB President and Council member Reinhard Grindel the dpa, Even Infantino himself did not know what to say. So he talked about all the football-crazy people between Oman and Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates – but the final decision must be made in June at the Fifa Congress in Paris. Until then, the Infantino Zweisatz applies: "If it happens, it's fantastic, if it does not happen, it's fantastic." Currently, the latter option appears as the much more likely.