Fifa ponders US$25bn tournament offers

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Fifa is planning to hold a special meeting next month at which two lucrative tournaments could be given the go-ahead.

Football’s world governing body is said to have held ‘promising’ consultations in recent weeks with regional confederations, individual football associations and leading clubs over the creation of a revamped Club World Cup and a new ‘Nations League’.

The tournaments would generate US$25bn  in revenue.

A source close to the organisation told BBC Sport that if the governing body believed there was an appetite for the competitions, it would invite its ruling council members to an extraordinary session which would likely be held at its headquarters in Zurich and was tentatively scheduled for mid-May.

Europe’s elite clubs have recently called for fewer matches, mandatory rest periods for players, and the alignment of confederation tournaments, but Fifa officials are confident their proposals meet those demands and have held ‘positive’ talks with top sides in recent days.

“Not everyone will agree with this but we want to give an opportunity to discuss the offer that has been made,” said the source.

“The discussions so far have been promising. This is not about selling football. We have serious investors and the secure finances would be shared with everyone involved in the game.”

Attendees at Fifa’s annual congress being staged in Moscow this year on the eve of the World Cup, would be asked whether or not to approve a feasibility study to examine if the 2022 edition should be expanded to 48 teams.

The World Cup is already due to expand to 48 teams from the 2026 tournament, after Fifa approved an expansion from 32 last year.

Qatar won the right to host the 2022 event but has been mired in controversy and allegations of corruption ever since.

If approved, the study would examine if it was possible for Qatar to successfully host an additional 16 teams given the extra games and logistical challenges such a move would inevitably create.

The study would also seek to find answers to whether it could become a regional event with Qatar’s neighbouring countries invited to stage some of the games.

Qatar has always insisted that it did nothing wrong when bidding for the tournament and, when the idea of 48 teams was first raised earlier this month by South American football associations, organisers said in a statement “we are confident in our ability to deliver a successful World Cup in 2022.”/BBC Sport

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