BERLIN, March 13 (Reuters) - German Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel backed plans for an expanded Club World Cup on Wednesday, saying payments from it would benefit smaller leagues and teams.
World soccer governing body FIFA will meet in Miami on Friday to discuss proposals for a new 24-team Club World Cup to be held every four years and a global version of UEFA’s Nations League, with both expected to start in 2021 if approved.
The plans have been opposed by European soccer body UEFA which has demanded that “all related sporting and commercial matters must be fully disclosed and discussed” by stakeholders.
Grindel said in a Deutsche Welle television interview that extending the Club World Cup from seven teams would be good for football.
“If we don’t hold a competition like (the Club World Cup), then commercial enterprises will,” Grindel, who is both a member of the UEFA Executive Committee and the FIFA Council, said.
“An advantage of a Club World Cup is that the income would remain entirely in football. In those tournaments [such as the International Champions Cup] there are no solidarity payments,” Grindel said, adding that smaller clubs “would not be particularly disadvantaged by the new competition”.
Grindel abruptly ended the interview with Deutsche Welle when pressed on the Global Nations League, which he said would not be voted on “for the foreseeable future”.
“I can’t judge (whether it would be lucrative for the German FA) because we don’t know anything about the economic basis.”
The changes proposed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, were first put forward at a FIFA meeting in Bogota a year ago and are based on an offer from a consortium willing to invest $25 billion over a 12-year cycle in return for a 49 percent stake in the competitions.
“That’s not going to get us anywhere. You’re constantly trying to put words in my mouth,” Grindel said when asked about the potential investment.
“You’re trying to set me up to say that there won’t be a Global Nations League,” he said before taking off the microphone and walking out of the interview. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Alexander Smith)