MILAN (Reuters) – Juventus President Andrea Agnelli described the relationship between European clubs and FIFA as tense and implied on Thursday the global soccer body was jumping the gun in its plans to introduce two new competitions. Agnelli, who is also chairman of the powerful ECA association representing more than 200 European clubs, said any discussions over new tournaments should only take place in the broader context of the international calendar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino will put his plans for two new international soccer tournaments to a vote at a meeting of the body’s ruling council on Friday.
Infantino revealed his plans in May for a new Global Nations League and a revamped Club World Cup, which he says are backed by a “solid and serious” group of investors willing to spend $25 billion over a 12-year cycle starting in 2021. However, there has been opposition to the plan from domestic leagues, European clubs and European soccer body UEFA.
“FIFA is proposing new competitions, but we have to start from the base, that is the international calendar after 2024,” Agnelli told a Juventus shareholders’ meeting. “In this moment the relationship is tense.” In contrast, he said the ECA had a joint vision with UEFA and the two were working “with harmony and in reciprocal respect … It’s in this manner that we can find joint solutions.”
The international calendar allocates dates for national team matches and international tournaments to avoid clashing with domestic dates. The current calendar runs until 2024 and discussions are already taking place over the next cycle. Agnelli has already called for a modernised calendar which reduces the burden on players.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by David Holmes)