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Leading clubs threatened to boycott Fifa Club World Cup ahead of Fifa Council

The 15 clubs on the European Club Association’s (ECA) Executive Board signed a letter advising Fifa they would boycott the governing body’s revised Club World Cup ahead of today’s Fifa Council in Miami.

German Daily Süddeutsche Zeitung has partially published the letter which it claims was sent by the European Club Association (ECA) to Uefa and copied to Fifa president Gianni Infantino.

The letter is signed by the heads of the 15 European clubs that sit on the ECA executive board and includes the signatures of Juventus and ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli, Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, Paris St-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Real Madrid vice-chairman Pedro López Jiménez.

“[We are] firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC – no ECA clubs would take part,” the letter said.

Uefa, the European Club Association (ECA) and European Leagues asserted their joint opposition to Fifa’s proposals to introduce the Club World Cup at a meeting of Uefa’s Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) in February.

The latest ECA letter reiterates the position taken at that meeting that any potential new competitions can only be made as part of an agreed framework for the international match calendar post-2024.

The calendar, which is drawn up by world governing body Fifa, co-ordinates fixtures around the globe, allocating dates for international matches and tournaments to avoid clashes with domestic competitions.

The leading European clubs are calling for a harmonisation of the calendar that would see all confederation tournaments to take place at the same time, two years after the Fifa World Cup, allowing a rest period every other summer for the leading players.

Infantino’s proposal would be for the revamped Club World Cup to start in 2021 which would interfere with the current international match calendar agreed between Fifa and the ECA in 2015.

Addressing Uefa, the letter said: “We kindly request that you, together with your fellow European Fifa Council members, on behalf of the ECA, urge Fifa to postpone any decision relating to the CWC [Club World Cup] until such moment when the legitimate concerns and interests of the European Clubs have been properly addressed.

Yesterday, LaLiga came out in support of Fifa’s Club World Cup plans claiming that the revamped competition would support “federations and leagues small and large”.