World Cup 2022

Sepp Blatter speaks out over Gianni Infantino’s ‘over-commercialisation’ of football

Infantino continues to preside over head-scratching directions as FIFA president whose sole focus appears to be economically-driven

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has aimed criticism in the direction of his successor, Gianni Infantino, in a recent interview with German weekly publication Die Zeit in the aftermath of Infantino going public with plans that have targeted both the World Cup and the Club World Cup.

A 48-nation format is set to be instituted at the World Cup starting four years from now when the United States, Canada, and Mexico come together as joint-tournament hosts, expanding the field from its current 32 participant nations.

But the more head-scratching adjustment to FIFA-affiliated tournaments comes by way of changes set to be instituted to the Club World Cup, which features a playoff structure involving the club champions from each federation as well as an additional club taken from a league in the host federation. The new format, which was recently revealed, is a 32-team competition slated to begin in 2025 which comes into direct clash with existing club tournaments in each FIFA federation, particularly the UEFA Champions League.

As such, Blatter has dubbed the changes as ‘over-commercializing.’

“What is happening at the moment is an over-commercialization of the game. There are attempts to squeeze more and more out of the lemon — for example with the World Cup finals with 48 teams or now with a Club World Cup that must be viewed as direct competition to the Champions League. FIFA is encroaching here on something that is actually none of its business, club soccer.”

With a fixture list that is already congested, and the overall success of a winter World Cup possibly leaving the door open for further mid-season tournaments, adding an expanded club World Cup is sure to come under scrutiny regarding player welfare.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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