Wednesday's soccer news starts with FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirming that the revamped Club World Cup won't be happening on schedule. With EURO 2020 now EURO 2021 and CONMEBOL also moving the Copa America to next summer, FIFA's Club World Cup will need to vacate its spot on the schedule. That's good news for Concacaf, since the Gold Cup would overlap with a club tournament designed to include more teams from all of the confederations.
Infantino wrote in an open letter to world soccer that the Club World Cup will move "when there is more clarity on the situation - when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023." He also mentioned further changes to the international calendar, with plans "to discuss the impact of these changes on the calendar with the confederations, member associations and other stakeholders and work on the current International Match Calendar with the objective of finding appropriate solutions for everyone to be proposed as soon as the circumstances allow, hopefully before the end of April."
Before the disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic, world soccer was facing issues with the schedule. Now, rescheduling has pushed that to the forefront with FIFA needing to address the bigger picture. World soccer's governing body wants room for the expanded Club World Cup as well as the eventual expansion of the World Cup itself that will change qualifying for all of the confederations. UEFA wants space on the calendar to potentially expand the Champions League in part to appease the elite clubs. It's a safe assumption those clubs and their leagues aren't necessarily fans of the lengthy international breaks in September, October, and November.
FIFPro is already on record in opposition to continuing to increase the number of games, especially for elite players representing clubs and countries most likely to go deep into tournaments. The wear on players should be a paramount concern since they're the ones driving the passion and business of the sport.
It's appropriate for FIFA to put in the work figuring this out since they're the ones expanding tournaments and potentially adding them should a global Nations League happen. They also need to reevaluate their relationship with the confederations. FIFA vs UEFA doesn't help the sport in Europe or worldwide if the intention of both is to add games to the schedule while inflating tournaments.
Had the revamped Club World Cup gone ahead as scheduled, Concacaf would've likely needed to alter its plans for the 2021 Gold Cup. The era of holding confederation championships every other year may be coming to an end. FIFA moved the Cup of Nations from summer to January with that tournament now postponed due to the coronavirus. It seems unlikely that significant changes to the calendar would leave space for confederation tournaments that don't match the UEFA and CONMEBOL schedule. With the Copa America moving to every four years and matching UEFA's championship, it seems clear where world soccer is heading.
American Soccer Now's Brian Sciaretta interviews USMNT player Luis Gil. Pro Soccer USA's Caitlin Murray with the amount of public money the St Louis MLS team is getting for its stadium from the state of Missouri. SI.com's Grant Wahl explains the issues facing new US Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone. Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson has FIFA taking over the Trinidad & Tobago Football Association due to financial issues.
AP's Rob Harris talks to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. The Mirror's John Cross on UEFA and FIFA cooperation. The Independent's Miguel Delaney works through what UEFA is trying to accomplish in an uncertain window of time. The Daily Mail's Adrian Kajumba reports on Championship clubs wanting to finish the season.
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