English Premiership

FIFA boss Infantino distances himself from European Premier League talk

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Gianni Infantino
Gianni Infantino
AFP

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he is not interested in a European Premier League.

Reports emerged regarding a breakaway competition earlier this week when it was claimed American investment bank JP Morgan was prepared to provide financing to get the league off the ground to the tune of £4.6billion, and that the project had FIFA’s backing.

However, Infantino told Swiss media outlets on Thursday that the revamped Club World Cup was his focus.

“As FIFA president, I’m interested in the Club World Cup, not the Super League,” said Infantino.

“For me, it’s not about Bayern Munich against Liverpool, but Bayern against Boca Juniors.”

The first edition of the new-look Club World Cup had been due to take place in China next summer before it was indefinitely postponed due to the knock-on effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Infantino added: “Liverpool have 180 million fans worldwide. Flamengo have 40 million fans and 39 million of them are in Brazil. Liverpool have maybe five million fans in England and 175 million fans around the world.

“I want clubs from outside Europe to have global appeal in the future. That’s my vision: to have 50 clubs and 50 national teams who can become world champions.”

UEFA has expressed its strong opposition to the proposed competition, which is reportedly backed by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

European football’s governing body said any such Super League would “inevitably become boring”.

The reports emerged as negotiations continue between clubs, leagues, national associations, and UEFA over the future shape of European club competition from 2024.

Manchester United were reported to be one of the clubs in talks over the new breakaway league, but their executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward denied it on a call to investors on Wednesday.

“I saw the reports on that and candidly don’t know where that story came from, but there isn’t really anything for us to say,” he said.

“We are engaged on a very regular basis through my role with the ECA (European Club Association) and UEFA with those two entities, talking about potential changes to the Champions League from 2024 onwards.

“You might have read a story about whether the Champions League may go to 36 teams. They’re the conversations that we’re actively involved in so I can’t comment on your question.”

- TEAMtalk media

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