Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Friday called for an overhaul of the international football calendar beyond 2024, insisting on a requirement to start with a “blank sheet of paper”.
“Let me be very clear: the starting point is not ‘the calendar is full and so nothing changes’,” he told the 71st FIFA Congress.
“The starting point is the exact opposite of that. We have a blank sheet, we are open to take on board all views and opinions about how we can make the international calendar better.”
Infantino reiterated his intention to “find a date” for a Club World Cup which he wants to see extended to 24 teams, despite widespread opposition to the plan.
However, he argued at length Friday for FIFA to play a key role in rewriting the calendar.
He said the organisation is the “only body” that “generates” and “redistributes” its revenues “around the world” unlike continental confederations and leagues.
“Let me explain,” he added Friday.
“Today, big leagues generate billions in revenues from all over the world – and these revenues are distributed where? To the 18-20 clubs in their leagues, with a small percentage going in solidarity.”
He added: “The only body which is generating revenues from all over the world and redistributing and investing all over the world in solidarity is FIFA.”
Meanwhile, there have been moves to push for a biennial World Cup, which is tempting for broadcasters but has angered national leagues and clubs who are seeing player burnout in an already packed calendar.
FIFA’s football development chief Arsene Wenger suggested in March that the World Cup, the European Championship and other international tournaments be held every two years.
It was an idea dubbed “unrealistic” by European Leagues, a body which groups 37 leagues and club associations in Europe, but still featured in a report carried out by Wenger and released last week.
Infantino has stayed vague on the concept, saying at the end of March that he was open to any ideas for the post-2024 football calendar and earlier this month promising “interesting discussions” on Wenger’s proposals.
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