New Football Link-Up Spells Trouble For FIFA


- Grant Whittington

FIFA’s control over global football may very well have taken a more serious knock than expected when Gianni Infantino’s plans for a biennial World Cup failed.

The two main opposing forces had been Europe and South America. And the fact that CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez and UEFA counterpart Aleksander Ceferin recently opened a joint office of their own, probably spells nothing good for FIFA’s dominance of the most-watched sport on the planet.

Situated in London, it’s a joint establishment seemingly without any employees. Even so, the opening of the joint base comes at a crucial time ahead of an intercontinental competition between European and South American champions – a competition organised without any involvement from FIFA whatsoever: Finalissima.

Finalissima A Selfless Project

But according to Dominguez and Ceferin, Finalissima wasn’t born out of any motivation for financial gain. Instead, Dominguez told reporters in London, the competition will be a historic time for sport. He said instead of greed being the main motivation, the focus will be on bringing football to the entire world.

The joint venture certainly establishes a closer bond between the only two continents to have won the World Cup: Europe and South America. Commenting on the upcoming competition, which will kick off at London’s Wembley Stadium in June, Ceferin said that within the context of world football, Europe needs South America, and South America needs Europe.

Ceferin also expressed a desire to utilise the partnership for the benefit of other football confederations. He said the two continents are ready and willing to partner with everybody else, and that it isn’t to be viewed as being “against anybody else”.

Stronger Together

The South America-Europe journey is one that has already included a threat of boycotting FIFA’s World Cup if the federation should choose to go ahead with the doubling of the frequency of the competition.

And it’s clear that FIFA is fearing trouble on the horizon as together with Infantino, it is already trying to portray the South America-Europe partnership in a bad light.

But according to Infantino, who recently spoke at the FIFA Congress in Qatar, FIFA hasn’t outright proposed a biennial World Cup. Instead, he said, the suggestion was merely the start of a process of discussion and consultation with everybody involved.

Infantino’s latest statement is clearly a stand-down of sorts after he had spent months facing public criticism from Dominguez and Ceferin over the threat such a move would pose to their own continental competitions.

And now that the UEFA-CONMEBOL partnership moves the two continents much closer to organising their own joint competition, FIFA may sooner rather than later find itself in more hot water.

Finalissima will see Argentina and Italy meet at Wembley in June.

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