We start the soccer news with an open question. Is FIFA president Gianni Infantino the most powerful person in world soccer, or is it UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin? As Reuters' Brian Homewood reports, Ceferin will win reelection for a second term as UEFA president since he's the only candidate on the ballot at Thursday's congress in Rome.
Ceferin's rise in global soccer politics was quick, moving from the president of the Football Association of Slovenia to UEFA president before his 50th birthday. FIFA president Gianni Infantino is a few years younger, but he's a product of UEFA not a domestic football association.
At this point, it's almost a footnote that Infantino's former job was UEFA secretary general since there's so much discord between the two governing bodies. Everybody in world soccer understands that Infantino's focus is FIFA. That includes his proposal for selling marketing rights to a revamped Club World Cup and a new global Nations League to a third-party. That UEFA isn't in line with FIFA's plan is hardly a surprise.
UEFA controls the current most lucrative club competition and invented the Nations League concept. That Nations League concept happened when Infantino was UEFA general secretary and maximizing the Champions League has been the ongoing work of UEFA since the early 1990s. Now, it's FIFA trying to maneuver to increase the value of their club championship and launch another lucrative tournament for national teams.
Both of these are issues for UEFA. They're well aware of what it takes to keep clubs and leagues happy, since those same clubs and leagues would also be the primary movers in a revamped Club World Cup. They're also not at all pleased that FIFA is considering a global Nations League when the original one has yet to complete its first season.
There's more at play. FIFA still hasn't decided on World Cup expansion for 2022. There's a rumor about the potential for reviving an idea from the Sepp Blatter era of FIFA and moving the World Cup to every other year. With Infantino likely to face a contested election at the FIFA congress in June, he needs to push his agenda forward now.
Meanwhile, UEFA's platform is set. They know what they want as an organization behind the leadership of a president willing to tell FIFA no. Whether or not UEFA's line receives support from the rest of world soccer is the question.
ESPN's Jeff Carlisle with takeaways from the USMNT January camp. The Canadian Press's Neil Davidson talks to Tim Bezbatchenko about his move from Toronto FC GM to Columbus Crew president. St Louis Business Journal's Nathan Rubbelke with an update on MLS expansion efforts. 10news' Jonathan Horn reports on renewed interest in MLS expansion in San Diego.
Soccer America's Mike Woitalla remembers college soccer coach Stephen Negoesco who created a dynasty at the University of San Francisco. Clemente Lisi told the story of Negoesco's US Open Cup champion San Francisco IAC team. The San Francisco Chronicle's Steve Kroner on Negoesco's approach to the game and his legacy.
The Guardian's Sean Ingle asks about what is being done to address concussions in soccer.
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