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European clubs say will boycott FIFA's Club World Cup

16 March 2019

UEFA, European football's governing body, is unlikely to fight Infantino's plans at Friday's council, with the proposal expected to be passed on to a further meeting ahead of June's congress.

"We have shown the council the feasibility study in which we conclude: yes, it is possible to expand the 2022 World Cup - provided that some conditions are met", Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino said on Friday following the council meeting in Miami, in the United States.

The three countries have imposed a land, sea and air embargo on the peninsula, in the Gulf's worst diplomatic crisis in years.

The Club World Cup is now held every December and features seven teams from six confederations, but the competition is largely ignored by European fans.

ECA board members, including Manchester United's chief executive Ed Woodward, signed a letter expressing concerns, which was revealed earlier on Friday.

The letter, sections of which were published in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung says they are "firmly against any approval of a revised Club World Cup at this point in time and confirm that no ECA clubs would take part to such a competition".

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"We have been open to the process of discussing a potential expansion of the World Cup in 2022 to 48 teams since discussions started in Moscow and continued in Kigali", read the statement. "We have to take care about the way of training and the vacation they need to recover every season that they do".

The move away from the traditional 32 teams which will see 80 matches instead of 64 - the notion was originally slated to come into effect for the 2026 tournament in North America - means one or more other countries will be asked to help Qatar stage the shortened 28-day event which is scheduled to kick off in November 2022.

The announcement comes in the face of considerable opposition from European clubs. That is the slot previously reserved for the Confederations Cup, which serves as a test event in a host nation a year before the World Cup. Teams would play two to five matches over a maximum of 18 days.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino said he was "extremely happy" after the Fifa Council backed his plan on Friday.

Video review has been approved for the Women's World Cup, which runs from June 7 to July 7.

VAR, which made its debut at the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, will now be deployed for the women's tournament which kicks off in June in France. Video assistant referees likely will include men helping advise all-female teams of referees and assistants.

European clubs say will boycott FIFA's Club World Cup