The Latest: FIFA to offer different Champions League reforms
PARIS (AP) — The Latest from the FIFA meetings ahead of the Women’s World Cup (all times local):
French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet says Champions League reforms which could be decided by December “don’t need to make the rich richer.”
Le Graet, speaking after attending his first meeting as a FIFA Council member, has publicly criticized a clubs-driven proposal for changing the Champions League from 2024.
It would let 24 of the 32 teams retain places year-on-year by their group-stage performance, rather than risk failing to qualify due to a low placing in national leagues.
Le Graet has been asked by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin to submit an alternative draft on behalf of national federations.
The French official cautions interest in national leagues will drop if most Champions League qualifiers are known by mid-January.
His plan will be “a little bit more flexible” and less weighted in favor of an elite group of about seven clubs.
Le Graet says: “Very frankly, I think those clubs earn enough money.”
He suggests UEFA’s consultation could lead to decisions by the end of December.
The head of North American soccer body CONCACAF says it could work with South America on a future tournament, if the project is based on soccer development rather than money.
The United States hosted a centenary Copa America in 2016 with all 10 South American teams and six from North America. It was won by Chile.
Talks then broke down between CONCACAF and South American body CONMEBOL over a repeat event in the U.S. in 2020.
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani says “we are open” to future cooperation, if it was for “longer-term reasons” to develop soccer in North America.
Montagliani says past cooperation was influenced by money “which is not always the best reason.”
In 2020, Argentina and Colombia — whose capital cities are separated by a six-hour flight — will host a 12-nation Copa America with two teams invited from other continents.
Qatar will host the next two editions of the Club World Cup, this December and in December 2020.
The FIFA Council decision is to help the Gulf nation prepare for the bigger mission of staging the World Cup in 2022.
Qatar plans to test its infrastructure, including building zones to cope with an influx of potentially thousands of fans.
Alcohol is currently only available for foreigners in a limited number of bars in Qatar.
Qatar World Cup organizing committee chairman Hassan Al-Thawadi says “alcohol will be available in certain areas” but the plans still have to be worked out.
The 2019 and 2020 Club World Cups will be the final versions with only the six continental club champions and the winner of the host’s domestic league.
The Club World Cup is expanding to 24 teams in June 2021, with the plan for it to be staged every four years.
The Asian Football Confederation says it will confirm China as host of the 2023 Asian Cup on Tuesday.
Asian soccer federation leaders are meeting in Paris ahead of FIFA members re-electing Gianni Infantino as president on Wednesday.
China is also a likely candidate to host the expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021, and to bid for the 2030 World Cup.
China is the only bidder to host the 24-team Asian Cup after South Korea withdrew its candidacy last month.
Though the Asian Cup traditionally kicks off in January, that 2023 slot would clash with Qatar hosting the World Cup in November and December 2022. Qatar is the defending Asian champion.
Qatar is set to host the next two editions of the Club World Cup.
People with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the FIFA Council will be asked to endorse Qatar for the seven-team club tournament this December and in December 2020.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the choice of venue ahead of the council meeting.
The event will test Qatar’s preparedness to stage the 2022 World Cup, including being played at the same time of year.
FIFA moved the World Cup from the usual June-July slot for 2022 because of the Gulf nation’s summer heat. It will instead start on Nov. 21, with the final on Dec. 18, Qatar National Day. Qatar experiences highs of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) in December.