Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - Page 10 News List

FIFA might charge hosts of planned Club World Cup

AP, GENEVA, Switzerland

FIFA wants to charge hosting fees for staging 24-team Club World Cup tournaments worth at least US$3 billion each and which are planned to start in 2021.

In a briefing document seen by reporters, FIFA said host markets “must have a propensity to pay a hosting fee” — a business model similar to Formula One.

FIFA has a US$25 billion offer from a consortium including Chinese, Saudi Arabian and American interests to help organize and market the revamped Club World Cup and a new global league for national teams for 12 years through 2033. Details were first reported this week by the New York Times.

However, the project faces strong opposition from soccer leaders in Europe who see a threat to their hugely popular Champions League.

Each edition of a proposed Club World Cup every four years would have guaranteed revenue of US$3 billion.

Even FIFA’s own briefing document suggests just between US$650 million and US$1 billion would be “required to make it a successful project.”

The last year’s Club World Cup played in the United Arab Emirates — featuring six continental champions and the host nation’s champion — earned just US$37 million for FIFA in its annual December slot.

A suitable host of a bigger tournament in June or July would provide “the financial investment needed to enable FIFA to provide the necessary financial incentives,” the 22-page document said.

The 24 clubs would share 75 percent of the revenue, the document said — or potentially more than US$2 billion.

The Club World Cup would be played in June or July every four years and include 12 European teams, including the Champions League finalists and Europa League winners from the previous four seasons.

If a club qualified on merit multiple times, entries would then be allocated according to a UEFA ranking system, typically led by storied and successful clubs.

South American clubs would have four guaranteed places for Copa Libertadores winners. Two places each would go to clubs from Africa, Asia and the North American region, one from the host country and the final place in a playoff involving clubs from South America and Oceania, the briefing paper said.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said he doubts the proposed Club World Cup could start in 2021, and Andrea Agnelli, European clubs leader and Juventus president, last month said no new competition should be added before 2024.

The briefing document says that FIFA could make a final decision on the Club World Cup at a meeting in Moscow on June 10.

The FIFA Council is chaired by president Gianni Infantino.

Infantino was rebuffed by council colleagues last month when he pressed for progress on the US$25 billion offer before a 60-day deadline expires next month.

He did not identify the investors, citing a non-disclosure agreement.

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