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European Leagues Call Plan for 48-World Cup Impossible

European Leagues Call Plan for 48-World Cup ImpossibleEuropean Leagues Call Plan for 48-World Cup Impossible

A proposal to increase the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams is impossible to carry out and does not make sense, according to the head of the umbrella organization representing Europe’s biggest domestic soccer leagues.

European Leagues (EPFL) chief Lars-Christer Olsson told Reuters on Tuesday he was surprised the proposal was made at the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) Congress in Buenos Aires last week without being put to other stakeholders.

Olsson said a larger tournament would last several days longer, increasing the break in the domestic club season which the leagues had only agreed to reluctantly in the first place. It would also put more pressure on the players.

He added that the leagues had already made concessions to FIFA by agreeing that the 2022 World Cup could be staged in November and December rather than the traditional June/July window to escape the sweltering heat of the Qatari summer.

FIFA has already decided to increase the World Cup from 32 teams to 48, but only from the 2026 tournament.

The proposal to also enlarge the 2022 finals was made to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in an open letter presented by CONMEBOL on Thursday although Olsson said he had heard rumors about it two weeks earlier.

“It’s impossible, it’s already a break in the season for the most important leagues of the world, in Europe and it doesn’t make sense,” he said in a telephone interview, adding that an enlarged tournament would need several more days”.

“I’m a bit surprised that proposals are presented this way,” he added. “The reform of FIFA was, among other things, to establish it as an organization where there was proper stakeholder information and consultation. There are bodies organized for that purpose so it’s strange to have ideas popping up like this.”

 

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