Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona has announced its support for a proposal to relaunch the Fifa Club World Cup as a 24-team quadrennial tournament.
In a statement, Barcelona’s board of directors said that the expanded tournament would be “exciting, dynamic, inclusive and prestigious”.
Barcelona said that it would favour scrapping the Fifa Confederations Cup – the traditional warm-up event in the World Cup host country the year before the main event – and the existing format of the Club World Cup, which brings together seven teams from around the world every year in December. Fifa, football’s global governing body, operates both tournaments.
The plans would “create a global platform for clubs to contribute to the growth of their brands”, Barcelona added.
Last week, the New York Times newspaper reported that the proposal has also attracted the support of Barcelona’s domestic rival, Real Madrid, while English Premier League clubs Manchester City and Manchester United, plus the respective champions of France, Germany and Italy - Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus – visited Fifa days ago for a private meeting on the plans.
Fifa’s ‘Project Trophy’ vision involves a consortium backed by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank bankrolling an expanded version of the existing Club World Cup and a world league for national teams. The consortium is said to have told Fifa president Gianni Infantino that it would be willing to inject up to $25bn (€20.7bn) for the rights to co-own the two tournaments.
However, Aleksander Ceferin, the head of football’s European governing body Uefa, has expressed concerns about the plans.