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La Liga could file legal action against FIFA over World Cup expansion announcement

Shreyas Pai
FEATURED WRITER
News
10 Jan 2017, 23:14 IST
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 09: FIFA president Gianni Infantino arrives for The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 on January 9, 2017 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed confidence in the expansion increasing the quality of the premier global competition
 

What’s the story?

A senior source in the Spanish league has communicated that they will do anything they can to reverse the FIFA council’s decision of expanding the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 teams. This includes the possibility of legal action, after prior pressure opposing the move, failed to stall FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the council from announcing the unanimous decision.

Also Read: FIFA approve plan of 48-team World Cup from 2026

La Liga’s complaint is based on the fact that even more of their players will now be involved in the gruelling competition – meaning unavailability for their respective clubs due to extended rest and recuperation periods – without the top professional leagues even being consulted.

The source has been quoted as saying, “We are not happy at all. We are providing extra players but we have not been consulted. We are looking at ways in which we can challenge today’s decision.”

In case you didn’t know...

The FIFA council earlier today announced their unanimous decision to increase the number of participating teams in the World Cup by 50% – from 32 to 48 – starting at the tournament of 2026. President Infantino even said that this expansion was necessary to keep the tournament relevant in the 21st century. 

The new tournament format has been drawn up with 16 groups of 3 teams each, thereby ensuring that the maximum number of games that a team could play remains at 7 while the 32-day duration of the tournament also remains the same.

The council also mentioned in their announcement that the number of rest days would also remain unaffected, with the number of slots allotted per confederation to be decided at a future meeting.

The heart of the matter

With La Liga said to have warned the FIFA council not to go ahead with the announcement before Tuesday’s vote, the bone of contention seems to be that Europe’s professional leagues have not been consulted on the matter – where several confederations have expressed support for the move.

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With the heavy riches involved in today’s world of football, it is also seen as a matter of monetary interest for the leagues as well as FIFA with revenues said to rise by up to $1 billion as a result of the expansion – as per The Guardian

What’s next?

With the announcement already made, the ball is in La Liga’s court at the moment. We have to wait and see how they proceed with challenging the FIFA council’s decision.

Sportskeeda’s Take

With some of the best talent in the world playing in Europe’s top leagues, an expansion will no doubt result in more of their players participating in the tournament. However, with the duration of the tournament remaining unchanged, and 32 of the 48 teams being knocked out after the group stages, we believe the number of players who will have extended runs in the tournament might not vary too much from the tournament’s current format.

Also Read: How FIFA's plan for a 48-team World Cup will allow teams to cheat without breaking the rules

This could just be a matter of squabbling over revenue – although questions over diluting the quality of the tournament remain. However, that is not the Spanish League’s issue of contention and hence we believe this matter could amount to nothing.

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