(ATR) Potential World Cup and Club World Cup expansion and video review at the Women’s World Cup highlight a FIFA Council meeting that could produce a profound impact on the sport of football.
Gianni Infantino FIFA President (FIFA)
FIFA will hold its next council meeting on Mar. 15 in Miami, Florida, where initiatives promoted by President Gianni Infantino will be voted on.
Infantino has spent the last year lobbying for an overhaul of FIFA’s Club World Cup, which currently is held in December and features seven teams: the winners of each confederation’s continental tournament, plus a representative from the host country.
The Council will vote on whether to expand the tournament to 24 teams in 2021, as part of a broader investment offer from a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund, according to the AP
. The tournament would be held during the traditional Confederations Cup period of June and July the year before the World Cup.
The Council is unlikely to vote to implement a Global Nations League, which would be similar to the ones launched by the European and North American footballing bodies, according to the AP.
Should FIFA vote for the expanded Club World Cup, it could theoretically replace the 2021 Confederations Cup. The tournament’s status has been in limbo given its Northern Hemisphere summer dates, and the extreme heat in 2022 World Cup host Qatar during that time. The 2022 World Cup will be held in the Northern Hemisphere winter to combat concerns over heat.
FIFA will also vote on potentially expanding the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams. An internal report from FIFA said that doing so could expand revenues from the tournament by as much as $400 million, but noted that it would require Qatar to add a co-host
to the tournament.
Qatar is building eight stadia for the 2022 World Cup, but FIFA says two to four more would be required to expand the tournament. The report noted that Kuwait and Oman could be considered as potential co-hosts because neither country has cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar during the ongoing Gulf crisis.
Expanding the tournament would have a major impact on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, which is due to begin shortly.
FIFA is also expected to approve video review for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. The 2018 Men’s World Cup in Russia was the first World Cup to use a video assistant referee (VAR). Many believe the new technology was a primary reason there was a marked increase in penalty kicks in Russia from the previous tournament in Brazil.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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