FIFA President,Gianni Infantino pitches mini-World Cup worth $33 billion

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed staging what would effectively be a mini-World Cup, featuring eight international teams, every two years, on top of football’s showpiece event.

The “Final 8” would be the climax of a global Nations League competition, which is part of an ambitious plan to reform international football which Fifa believes could be worth US$25 billion (S$33.37 billion) in a 12-year cycle.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Infantino suggested that the new tournament would take place every October and/or November of every odd year starting from 2021.

He said that a “solid and serious” group of investors were willing to spend US$25 billion on the competition and a revamped version of the Club World Cup, which would also start in 2021 with 24 teams.

The Confederations Cup, currently staged every four years in a year before the World Cup, would be abolished.

The letter did not clearly indicate how many slots would be allocated to each region. The plans were sent by Infantino to the members of Fifa’s decision-making Council which still has to approve them.

European football body Uefa, where Infantino was general secretary until 2016, and its counterpart for North and Central America and the Caribbean, Concacaf, have already set up Nations League contests in their own continents.

In both cases, the competitions involve all the national teams in their respective regions who are divided into divisions based on their rankings. There is promotion and relegation between the divisions.

Uefa’s inaugural competition will begin in September this year.

Other continents would have to set up similar competitions for the tournament to be viable.

Infantino suggested that similar intercontinental mini-tournaments to the Final 8 could also be organised for the top teams in the lower divisions. His letter said that all revenue from the competition would be redistributed.

“This means that Fifa as an organisation would not benefit financially from this competition,” the Swiss said. “We believe this offer is an excellent opportunity for the confederations and member associations as well as for football in general.”

In a separate proposal for Europe, the letter suggested that member associations could receive up to US$50 million for taking part in a single Uefa Nations League campaign although this amount would only be for the five top-ranked federations. The next biggest five European countries would receive US$15 million to US$20 million while the 33 lowest-ranked associations would receive US$7 million.