Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the head of the European Clubs Association, has suggested that his members are unhappy with the proposed World Cup expansion to 48 teams and could end co-operation with FIFA if their needs are not listened to.
Bayern Munich chief Rummenigge, who opposed the expansion plan, is quoted in the German media as warning that the clubs could go as far as removing their players from international duty. Moreover, he said that there may come a time in the near future when the clubs questioned the need for football’s governing body.
Saying that expansion will “inevitably lead to a revolution,” Rummenigge added: “The big clubs and even leagues will perhaps ask us at some point: do we really need FIFA and its curious decisions, which at the end of the day only affect the football – and not serve football.”
Under Gianni Infantino’s radical proposal, which was backed earlier this month by the Fifa Council, the 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams divided into 16 groups of three. The top two teams will then go through to the knockout stages.
The ECA is understood to be examining possible ramifications of the expansion from 32 teams, in particular how its members might be compensated.
“The ECA has reached an agreement with FIFA, which ends in 2022,” explained Rummenigge. “There is currently no agreement for the time after that. Accordingly, it will have to be seen whether there is any further cooperation here.”