The head of the European Club Association, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has issued another warning to Fifa over the decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, warning that the balance of power was shifting back towards his members.
Speaking at a sports business conference in Dusseldorf, Rummenigge said a 32 nation finals worked perfectly and slated Fifa for not consulting with the clubs over the proposed expansion to 48 teams.
Rummenigge, who also acts as chief executive of Bayern Munich, said: “The increase from 32 to 48 teams is actually nonsense, we had a format which everyone was happy with.”
“The World Cup is a most extraordinary event, it’s the biggest sports event in the world and FIFA must deal with this matter in a more responsible and democratic way.”
All clubs are obliged to release their players for the tournament and Rummenigge conceded: “If the big clubs were to refuse to allow their players to take part, that would not be in the interest of the fans.”
“Fifa must get together with the ECA and questions will be asked. Fifa’s motto is ‘we care about fans’. But they need to step away from politics and from finance and pay more attention to football.”
“At the end of the day, there are the top clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the big Spanish and English clubs, Paris St Germain, Juventus.”
“That is a shift of power that neither Uefa or Fifa can stop and things have changed dramatically in the last few years.”