INFANTINO confirms that China is the only country being considered.

FIFA has awarded the inaugural edition of its expanded 24-team Club World Cup to China, the association's president Gianni Infantino said Thursday in what he called a ''historic decision''.

The move underlines China's growing clout in Football and could be a precursor to the country eventually hosting the World Cup proper.

Infantino made the announcement after a meeting in Shanghai of the FIFA Council, the decision-making unit of football's world governing body.

It will mean many of the biggest club team in football - and their array of stars - descending on China in two years' time.
Infantino confirmed that China was the only country being considered.

''It is a historic decision for football,'' he said. '' It will be a competition which every person, every child and everyone who loves football is looking forward to.''

The FIFA chief said in June that his new Club World Cup could generate as much as $50 billion in commercial income, although he did not state how many editions that would cover and a source told AFP the figure was ''scarcely credible''.

The current Club World Cup features seven teams including the holders of the UEFA Champion League. Qatar will host the competition this year and in 2020.

The Gulf States will use the two tournaments as logistical tests for stadiums and infrastructures ahead of the 2020 edition of the World Cup, FIFA's flagship international competition.

FIFA will also double funding for women's football to $1 billion over the next four years, Infantino said.
''The Council decided to put 500 million in addition to the 500 million already budgeted,'' he said.

The plan for a revamped 24-team Club World Cup starting in June-July 2021 was approved at a FIFA Council meeting in Miami in March despite opposition from UEFA and the powerful European Club Association.

Infantino said on Thursday that tournament would include eight teams from Europe.

The tournament will take place every four years and replaces the Confederations Cup, an international competition that acted as a test event for countries hosting a World Cup.

China, the world's second biggest economy, is becoming increasingly influential in football under  President Xi Jinping, a known fan of the game.

Xi and his his communist government has made the sport a national priority and his stated aim is to for the country of 1.4 billion to host and eventually win a World Cup.

A bid for the 2030 World Cup has long been mooted. [AFP]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!