(Reuters) – Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has held talks with soccer’s global governing body FIFA on acquiring the commercial rights to the revamped Club World Cup, a tournament featuring top continental teams, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
CVC is in discussions with FIFA over funding the event in a deal that would include gaining television rights to matches it would then sell to broadcasters worldwide, the report https://on.ft.com/2sQmhbJ said.
The Club World Cup, which currently consists of seven teams and is held every December, will expand to a 24-team tournament from 2021. China will host its first edition.
An expanded event has faced strong opposition from European clubs who say there is no room in the international calendar.
A tender process for corporate groups to bid for the Club World Cup’s commercial rights is set to be announced by FIFA as early as this week, the FT said, citing a person close to the process.
CVC executives were also recently approached by Real Madrid President Florentino Perez to create a rival annual competition featuring top clubs from around the world, the FT reported.
The report said one option under consideration is creating two leagues of 20 teams each, with eight of those teams possibly including the founding clubs behind the World Football Club Association (WFCA) which is presided over by Perez.
The founding WFCA clubs are Real Madrid (Spain), AC Milan (Italy), Auckland City (New Zealand), Boca Juniors (Argentina), River Plate (Argentina), America (Mexico), Guangzhou (China) and Mazembe (Congo)
The WFCA, which was formed last month, aims to help foster dialogue between clubs and FIFA.
CVC and FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Real Madrid was not immediately available for comment.
(Reporting by Sathvik N and Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)