Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fifa has ‘answer’ to Super League



Fifa has ‘answer’ to Super League

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fifa president Gianni Infantino (left) and Swiss prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold return after a football match at Fifa headquarters in Zurich on February 29, 2016. AFP

Fifa has ‘answer’ to Super League

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said his plans for a new, expanded Club World Cup provide the perfect antidote to any potential threat of a breakaway Super League by elite clubs.

According to documents published in the latest series of Football Leaks allegations, a group of top European clubs has discussed the idea of establishing a closed competition which could replace the Uefa Champions League.

The revelations came barely a week after Infantino agreed at a Fifa Council meeting in Rwanda to delay any decision over his plans for a Club World Cup and a global Nations League, instead setting up a taskforce to study the proposals.

That was reportedly after Uefa delegates threatened to walk out in protest, and yet Infantino hopes his idea will still win out.

“The Club World Cup is the answer to any breakaway temptation,” Infantino said in an interview with AFP and other media in Zurich.

“It will bring much more money for clubs and for the solidarity [development projects].”

Infantino has been pushing to revamp the Club World Cup by expanding it from the current seven clubs to 24 and holding it every four years. Twelve of the teams would be European.

He has said he has an offer of $25 billion over 12 years for that and the Nations League from private investors, identified by Football Leaks as Japan’s Softbank.

Defending his plans, the 48-year-old said: “These attempts to create a Super League are there since the 1990s, and this is coming every time, and it’s up to us, the government of football, to protect the whole pyramid football system, which benefits the clubs and the world football community.

“If clubs organise a breakaway Super League, it will benefit only the clubs. If Fifa organises the Club World Cup, it will benefit the clubs and the 211 football associations.”

‘Nothing illegal’

Infantino, who also played down the prospect of the World Cup being expanded to 48 teams in time for the next tournament in Qatar in 2022, responded to further allegations from Football Leaks by saying he had done “nothing illegal”.

Several media, including French investigative website Mediapart, published claims that Infantino – then Uefa’s secretary-general – “directly negotiated” an agreement with Manchester City after they were found to have breached Financial Fair Play rules in 2014.

He was alleged to have bypassed Uefa’s Financial Control Panel in offering City a “fine of €20 million instead of 60”. Paris Saint-Germain then received the same treatment, Mediapart said.

“The Financial Fair Play rules allow for the possibility of negotiations and agreements. And who is in charge of negotiations and discussions on the settlement agreements? The administration,” Infantino said.

Mediapart also accused Infantino of not doing enough to clean up Fifa’s reputation since succeeding Sepp Blatter in charge of world football’s scandal-tainted governing body in 2016.

“We came here in 2016 and we tried to change a few things. We knew from the beginning that it would not be easy to try to do things in an environment which was very, very rooted in some practices,” said the Swiss-Italian, who also claimed that his background was not to the liking of his critics.

“The fact that you have the son of Italian immigrants being Fifa president is maybe not liked by many, and in addition he brings a lady from Africa [Fatma Samoura], a Muslim, in charge of the general secretariat.

“From all these criticisms nothing was even remotely concerning anything illegal or contrary to some regulations, which is quite a big difference compared to the past in this organisation,” he added.

Nevertheless, the Football Leaks revelations also shone a light on Infantino’s relationship with a Swiss prosecutor called Rinaldo Arnold, which will now be investigated by authorities in Switzerland.

He allegedly invited Arnold to attend the World Cup in Russia, the 2016 Fifa Congress in Mexico and the Champions League final in Milan that year.

“I think it’s unfair this attack. Let the justice make its course as they always say. I am very happy and proud to have Rinaldo as a friend,” said Infantino, who added that he was “confident” of being re-elected Fifa president next year.

Arnold also denied any impropriety in an interview with Canal 9, a regional broadcaster in the Swiss canton of Wallis. “Gianni Infantino invited me to football matches as a friend,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Mr Pancake or M Crepe? Tasty by any title

    Crowds of people gather around a lone man with a mobile food cart every day at around 2pm in front of the Institut Francais du Cambodge to order what many say are the best crepes in Phnom Penh. To some – even to the man making

  • Phnom Penh condo market loses steam

    Just four new condominiums were launched for sale last year in the capital, down from 17 in 2020, according to research by CBRE Cambodia. The four developments comprised “more than 1,000” units, while the 17 in 2020 consisted of 10,866, the real estate firm reported. CBRE Cambodia categorises condos as “high-range”, “

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Molnupiravir treatments available at Cambodia Post

    The working group overseeing the management, distribution and supply of strategic drugs in the fight against Covid-19 at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications has begun distributing 200mg molnupiravir capsules with the brand name Molnatris at all branches of its Cambodia Post from January 19 in