Germany’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, chairman of the European Club Association, ECA, addresses his speech, during the opening plenary general assembly of the European Club Association, ECA, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
Following Federation of International Football Association’s (FIFA) president, Gianni Infantino 48-team World Cup proposition, European Club Association (ECA) has expressed its opposition to the expansion plans.
The FIFA president had included in its manifesto when running for election a proposal to increase the number of teams in the finals from 32 to 40.
However, in October, the UEFA ex-Secretary General hinted it could be expanded even further to include as many as 48 countries.
However, the ECA issued a statement on Thursday voicing its opposition against such plans, while also revealing it had written to Infantino in a bid to persuade him against the idea.
“The European Club Association (ECA) speaks out against the proposed enlargement of the FIFA World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has recently made several proposals aimed at further expanding the number of participating nations at the World Cup. According to Gianni Infantino’s proposals, the expansion is expected to take effect at the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
“The number of games being played throughout the year has already reached an unacceptable level, in particular for national team players.
“The ECA Executive Board therefore rejects such [an] initiative and has sent a letter to Gianni Infantino calling on FIFA not to increase the number of participants at future World Cups.”
“We have to focus on the sport again. Politics and commerce should not be the exclusive priority in football,” added ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“In the interest of the fans and the players, we urge FIFA not to increase the number of World Cup participants.” the statement read.
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