Barcelona against haste of bigger Club World Cup

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The European Club Association (ECA) says any new competitions should be part of an agreed framework for the global match calendar post-2024.

The 2026 World Cup, which will be by the United States, Canada and Mexico, will be 48 teams, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to expand the next edition of the tournament.

The FIFA Council approved the establishment of a new landmark club competition: a revamped, 24-team FIFA Club World Cup, the pilot edition of which will be held in June and July 2021.

"We hope all the greatest teams will participate", Infantino said.

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In a letter that was leaked on Friday, the ECA's executive board, including board members at Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid, said they would not take part in any new competition until 2024 at the earliest.

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". The decision was taken today, during the ninth meeting of FIFA's strategic and decision-making body, in Miami.

"We are the only organisation reducing the number of tournaments and games - this will not have a neutral impact on the calendar, it will be positive", he said.

But the European Club Association (ECA) said leading European clubs would boycott the event.

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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.

The new tournament would be projected to include three teams from Concacaf, although available information does not indicate how teams would qualify. Oceania would get one representative.

Infantino said five members of the Council did not attend the meeting, the first for FIFA's leadership in the USA since American law enforcement arrested numerous sport's top officials in 2015 on corruption charges. Teams would play two to five matches over a maximum of 18 days.

Infantino also provided an update on organization of the upcoming Women's World Cup, saying that the preparations were going well.

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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) had expressed its interest to host the tournament in 2018, a year after the country successfully hosted the Under-17 Men's World Cup, which England won, beating Spain in the final.

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