FIFA hosts continental football bodies to talk on $25B deal
ZURICH (AP) — FIFA hosted talks with football's six continental governing bodies on Monday about a $25 billion offer to run two international competitions, seeking agreement before the World Cup kicks off in June.
FIFA President Gianni President wants support for a 12-year deal from 2021 with a Japanese-led consortium. It would expand the Club World Cup to a 24-team event every four years, and create a Nations League on a two-year cycle for more than 200 national teams.
"There is a sense of urgency to move forward and to make a decision," Philippe Moggio, general secretary of North American football body CONCACAF, said after the two-hour meeting.
Still, consent from UEFA is the toughest part of the deal, which seems unlikely before an initial 60-day deadline from investors expires by mid-May.
Asian confederation general secretary Windsor John said FIFA plans for a working group to study the issues. That panel will include the CEO-like top officials from each of the six continents.
FIFA vice president Alejandro Dominguez, head of South America's CONMEBOL, was the only confederation president to attend Monday's meeting which followed a rapid round of consultations in recent weeks with FIFA stakeholders, including leaders of Europe's top clubs and leagues.
An expanded Club World Cup, which would be played in June or July with 12 from Europe in a 24-team lineup, is a potential rival to the globally popular Champions League guaranteed by UEFA.
A FIFA briefing document on the project said clubs would share prize money totaling 75 percent of at least $3 billion revenue from each Club World Cup edition which would be guaranteed by the investment group.
Currently, the annual Club World Cup played in December features just one European team alongside the other continental champions and the host nation's league winner. The 2017 edition in the United Arab Emirates earned $37 million revenue for FIFA.
FIFA's 37-member ruling council is needed to approve the two competitions, which figure to get broad support from clubs and national federations outside Europe.
"The concept is very interesting for all," Moggio said of the global Nations League idea, which was developed by UEFA.
Earlier Monday, Dominguez told The Associated Press a council meeting could happen in Zurich ahead of the World Cup which kicks off on June 14 in Russia.
FIFA's leaders will meet on June 10 in Moscow, where the main business will be the 2026 World Cup bidding contest. Three days later, FIFA member federations are set to choose between Morocco and the co-hosting candidacy of the United States, Canada and Mexico to stage the expanded 48-team tournament.
"There is a lot on the table," Moggio acknowledged.
One subject not formally discussed on Monday: FIFA's proposal last month, backed by CONMEBOL'S Dominguez, of fast-tracking the 48-team expansion to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.