KOLKATA, India — An expanded Club World Cup could replace the Confederations Cup as part of a revised calendar that FIFA will examine, president Gianni Infantino says.
Infantino told reporters after a FIFA council meeting on Friday that both club and international competitions will be reviewed as part of a revised calendar that FIFA will consider at their next council meeting in March.
The Club World Cup, played annually in December, features the winners of the six continental confederations’ cup winners, along with one team from the host country. The European and South American clubs enter the competition in the semifinals.
“We have the Club World Cup coming up in UAE. We have to look at the future of this competition,” Infantino said. “[We must remember the] world being not just Europe and South America, but the whole world.
“Different ideas and models — how many teams and how to fit it into the international match calendar? We have to tackle the challenges and see what is the best approach. Maybe abolish some competitions to add another one.”
Infantino said the future of the Confederations Cup, played quadrennially the year before the World Cup in the host nation, will be taken into consideration to see if there is a better alternative.
“It’s in the calendar, as part of the overall analysis of the competition — one option would be to, instead of Confederations Cup, to play a club competition, so there’s no additional dates and burdens and we do something different to develop club football.
“That’s an idea. We will discuss it and we will decide in March next year.”
India, who have been commended by FIFA for the successful organisation of the U-17 World Cup ahead of the England-Spain final on Saturday, have bid for the right to host the 2019 U-20 World Cup, and Infantino said this competition two years later could be the last of its kind.
“We have started consultations on other strategic competitions, including youth competitions for after 2020,” Infantino said. “We will discuss increasing the number of teams to 48 in men’s and 24 for women’s World Cups. Maybe have just one U-19 or U-18 for men’s rather than U-20 and U-17.
“We are also looking at co-hosting, so that smaller associations are able to host part of the events.”
When asked if India could hope to win the rights to host the U-20 World Cup in two years’ time, Infantino said the decision would be taken early next year.
“This year, there have been two World Cups in Asia — South Korea [U-20] and India [U-17]. We have received several requests from countries around the world for 2019. This will be analysed by the FIFA administration and presented to the council.
“After 2019, we might change the format of all the competitions and there can be many opportunities for many countries — big countries and smaller ones to organise the World Cup.”
Infantino also said that Olympic team rosters could be larger at the 2020 Tokyo Games, as he believes a squad of 18 players was too small for several games in a tournament running less than three weeks.
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