Fewer tournaments, fewer teams, fewer games: FIFA president Gianni Infantino admits coronavirus crisis means football is set for sweeping long-term changes
- Gianni Infantino admits that coronavirus may lead to notable changes in football
- FIFA chief revealed that fewer tournaments and less games could be considered
- Infantino conceded that the demands on players will now have to be reined back
- European Super League is also not under consideration, according to Infantino
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has admitted that the coronavirus crisis may lead to notable changes at the very top of football.
The ongoing pandemic has heavily disrupted the game’s calendar, with countless domestic competitions postponed and Euro 2020 having been pushed back until next year.
And Infantino revealed that sweeping measures may have to be introduced, which could include cutting back significantly on the amount of tournaments and games played.
FIFA chief Gianni Infantino admitted that coronavirus could lead to notable changes in football
Infantino conceded that ‘less tournaments, fewer teams and less games’ may be considered
As global authorities ramp up their attempts to contain the spread of the virus, sport has been placed into a state of indefinite suspension – although there are plans at the highest level of the game to resume action within the near future in order to complete the current campaign.
Football chiefs are faced with the dilemma of allocating time to allow the remaining games to take place, with the controversial decision to scrap the season likely to be met with litigation from countless disgruntled clubs.
With Euro 2020 and the Copa America both postponed, players may have to battle through an incredibly congested fixture list next term.
FIFA were also planning to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup from 2021 to further add to the headache, although Infantino has conceded that the demand on footballers may have to be scaled back in the wake of the current crisis.
FIFA were planning to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup before the pandemic rocked sport
‘An assessment of the global economic impact is needed. It’s difficult right now, we don’t know when it will return to normal,’ he told Gazzetta dello Sport when questioned about finances in football.
‘But we look at the opportunities. We can perhaps reform world football by taking a step back. With different formats. Less tournaments, but more interesting. Maybe fewer teams, but more balanced. Less games, to protect the health of the players, but more competitive.
‘It’s not science fiction, let’s talk about it. We quantify the damages, let’s see how we can cover them, we have to make sacrifices. The ones who managed their “company” in a healthy way, will benefit – then we start again.
‘Not from scratch, we are privileged. But let’s all save football together, from a crisis that risks being irreversible.’
Infantino also played down speculation that a European Super League would be part of his plans for the future.
Infantino also played down speculation that a European Super League was part of his plans
Several of the continent’s leading clubs were believed to have supported the concept, which may threaten the Premier League and Champions League, but Infantino has waved away the concept.
He added: ‘It makes me laugh.
‘And what else? From what I see, others are already planning and organising tournaments around the world, outside the institutional structures, and without respect for how domestic, continental and world football is organised.
‘In the future we must have at least 50 national sides that can win the World Cup, not just eight in Europe and two in South America.
‘We need 50 clubs that can win the Club World Cup, not just five or six European ones. And 20 of these 50 will be European, which seems better than today’s five or six. But it’s not the right time to talk about this now.’