Infantino’s competition reform vision set to return to Fifa table

Fifa president Gianni Infantino will return his masterplan to revamp club and national team competitions to the agenda when world football’s governing body meets later this week, with Uefa reportedly planning a walkout over the plans.

The ruling Fifa Council is set to meet in Kigali, Rwanda on Friday (October 26) with the proposals for a revamped Club World Cup and a new national team competition on the agenda of items to be discussed. European governing body Uefa has been fiercely opposed to Infantino’s proposals amid fears over how the tournaments will impact on its Champions League competition and the new Nations League tournament, which launched this season.

Infantino wrote to Fifa Council members in May stating his plans are backed by a “solid and serious” group of investors, believed to be led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, that are willing to spend $25bn (€21.8bn) over a 12-year cycle commencing in 2021. The existing Club World Cup would be expanded to a 24-team tournament, with half of the teams drawn from Europe, while the new national team competition would effectively supersede Uefa’s Nations League, which has been formed to offer greater context to friendly matches.

The New York Times, citing people familiar with the situation, said that if Infantino attempts to force an agreement at Friday’s meeting, European Fifa Council members are prepared to walk out of the discussions. The newspaper added that SoftBank has now withdrawn an initial 60-day deadline it gave Fifa to conclude talks about the plan.

Commenting on the reports, a Fifa spokesman said: “The meeting has yet to take place and many topics are on the agenda for discussion and debate, as always. It’s strange that some people have gone directly to a conclusion.”