MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – FIFA will hold a global summit next week to discuss their plans for holding the World Cup every two years but their biggest opponent, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, shows no sign of backing down.
Ceferin said his organisation had no agreed strategy for Monday’s meeting, suggesting it would not be a defining moment in the process.
“As much as we know FIFA is still pursuing the project, then there are some signals are coming from different sides that they might not pursue it till the end,” the UEFA chief told a news conference.
“We don’t have a particular strategy. For Monday, it will be 211 federations, that means 500 people at the videoconference. I don’t expect something very deep.
“But we will listen and we’ll see and we’ll act accordingly. But for now, we don’t even have the agenda for Monday. The only thing we know is that it’s called ‘Future of Football’, which can mean a lot and can mean nothing,” he said.
Victor Montagliani, a key ally of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and head of CONCACAF, which governs the game in North and Central America and the Caribbean, told Reuters earlier this month that he was leaning towards a compromise solution.
Montagliani floated the idea of a revamped version of the old Confederations Cup, or a global version of the Nations League concept, as alternatives to a biennial World Cup.
But Ceferin said that he had not seen concrete proposals or details of the idea.
“I’m quite fed up of hearing proposals or reading about proposals in the media,” he said.
“I might be naive but I still hope that we will start speaking with some documentation, with some concrete proposals, with some serious ideas and not wait until the morning when the newspapers come to see what is the new proposal of some of our colleagues,” he added.
Ceferin said he hoped that FIFA and the confederations could begin to focus on the future shape of the international match calendar, which needs to be agreed upon for the post-2024 period.
“The problem is that everything is interconnected. We get proposals for different competitions and that’s why the discussions about the international match calendar are delayed all the time.
“We haven’t even started to discuss about the calendar because of all those ideas that happened. I hope that we start discussing about the international match calendar immediately after New Year,” he said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis)