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7 Feb, 2019 15:14

'We won't be yes men': UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin slams FIFA Club World Cup proposal

'We won't be yes men': UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin slams FIFA Club World Cup proposal

Newly re-elected UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin has outlined strong criticism of FIFA's plans to revamp the Club World Cup, as well as the newly-formed Nations League, in a damning speech in front of FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The criticism comes amid FIFA plans to include additional European teams in the annual Club World Cup tournament, as well as expand the Nations League - which was instituted as a replacement to international 'friendly' games - worldwide.

In remarks demonstrating his opposition to the plans, which he says are unfeasible, Ceferin said that UEFA would not act as 'yes men' to FIFA and suggested that by doing so they would be saving FIFA from making a critical error.


"It is often those who disagree in a measured, reasonable and constructive way, even if they sometimes do so in a direct, uncompromising fashion, who do them the greatest service, help them move forward and prevent them from making mistakes," Ceferin said just yards away from FIFA boss Infantino at UEFA's annual conference in Rome.

"By telling FIFA that we disagree with their current proposals on the Global Nations League and the Club World Cup, we show them respect and we show respect to football, the game we love and the game we must protect.

"We sincerely hope that FIFA will also show us respect by listening to our views... UEFA and European football deserve to be respected."

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Infantino announced plans last year to introduce a mirrored format of the UEFA Nations League dubbed the 'Final 8', which has been described as a 'mini World Cup' which would feature eight international teams and would be played every two years. 

Additionally, the World Club Cup would be expanded from 7 to 24 teams and would take place every four years.

However, Ceferin has long been an opponent of the proposal and described it in October as being "highly cynical and ruthless mercantilism" with additional concerns centered around funding for the tournaments. 

Ceferin's opposition to the plans were strengthened on Thursday as the Slovenian was re-elected UEFA president for the next four years. After the vote he reaffirmed that there would be no breakaway European Super League while he was at the helm of the continent's governing body for the sport. 

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A new league featuring some of Europe's top clubs had been speculated last year, though Ceferin's re-election appears to have stopped those plans in their tracks.

He did say, however, that there would be an overhaul of some European club competitions.

"We will work hand-in-hand with our partner, the European Club Association, to design the club competitions of the future," Ceferin said.

"Club competitions that are in keeping with the times, full of excitement and intensity and open, which will bring a new dimension to European football."