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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been forced to backtrack on plans for a European Premier League.
Manchester United and Liverpool have held discussions on a FIFA-backed tournament involving Europe’s top clubs which sparked a furious reaction with Sky pundit Gary Neville calling the plans “obscene.”
US banking giant JP Morgan are ready to fund it with £4.6billion worth of backing with FIFA and UEFA already at loggerheads and Spain’s biggest clubs also driving a new-look European Super League.
But Infantino insists that he is not interested in a new European breakaway league but does want to push forward with an expanded Club World Cup.
Infantino, talking to the Swiss media, said: “As FIFA president, I’m interested in the Club World Cup, not the Super League.
“For me, it’s not about Bayern Munich against Liverpool, but Bayern against Boca Juniors.
“Liverpool have 180 million fans worldwide. Flamengo have 40 million fans and 39 million of them are in Brazil. Liverpool have maybe five million fans in England and 175 million fans around the world.
“I want clubs from outside Europe to have global appeal in the future.
“That’s my vision: to have 50 clubs and 50 national teams who can become world champions.”
The new Club World Cup was due to take place in China next summer but has now been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The all-important European Clubs’ Association are putting together proposals for a new-look Champions League to take to UEFA early next year with the hope it will start from 2024.
That will see a Swiss-style expanded league model with more teams, more games and also guaranteed places for the bigger clubs and FIFA’s hope is that clubs who get into the latter stages will then feed into a global tournament.