FIFA President Gianni Infantino has seemingly guaranteed a place in his expanded Club World Cup project to Oceania.
Infantino hopes to expand the Club World Cup to a 24-team quadrennial tournament featuring 12 entrants from Europe that replaces the competition’s current format and takes the summer allotted to the Confederations Cup in the process.
The competition is reported to have seen US$25 billion pledged towards it by a combination of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and the United Arab Emirates, according to widespread media report.
The FIFA Council was set to decide on proposals to overhaul the competition in October but pushed the decision into the upcoming meeting in Miami this week.
As it stands, the winner of the Oceania Champions League must win a playoff game against the host nation’s league champion before entering the annual Club World Cup.
Now Infantino is looking ensure an entrant from the region, reportedly saying at a recent Oceania congress visit: “We can see that there is some quality here, the problem is that nobody knows about it, and why does nobody know about it, it’s because the current Club World Cup is not good, and it has to be changed.
“A Club World Cup, with maybe 24 teams, of which at least one should be from Oceania. One fixed spot, not like now for the World Cup which is a half spot, but one spot for an Oceania team.”
Alongside the Club World Cup proposals, world soccer’s governing body is expected to discuss a potential expansion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup when the FIFA Council meets in Florida this week.