China will host a revamped Club World Cup in 2021, FIFA has announced.

The game's governing body made the announcement following a meeting in Shanghai on Thursday.

Although its prestige has often paled against other trophy targets for European sides, a redesigned Club World Cup will expand to 24 teams following the final two iterations of the existing seven-team format in Qatar in 2019 and 2020.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has strongly opposed the move, which is seen by some as an attempt to position the competition as a rival to Europe's Champions League.

Ceferin last year described FIFA as "behaving strangely", but Gianni Infantino, president of the global body, pressed ahead with rolling out plans for the new-look tournament.

It will be played between June and July 2021 and replaces the Confederations Cup, held every four years, on the international calendar.

A FIFA statement added: "The participation model to determine the clubs that qualify from each confederation will be finalised in a consultation process between FIFA and the six confederations."

The 2019 Club World Cup begins in Doha in December.

Meanwhile, FIFA confirmed the host for the 2030 World Cup will be chosen in 2024, at the 74th congress meeting, with the bidding process to be launched in the second quarter of 2022.

Krasimir Balakov has resigned as head coach of Bulgaria four days on from the 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying loss to England that was marred by racist abuse.

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) confirmed Balakov's departure following a meeting of its executive committee on Friday.

In a statement, the BFU attributed the 53-year-old's resignation to substandard performances.

Bulgaria succumbed to a heavy defeat against the Three Lions in Sofia but not before their supporters subjected England players to racist chants, which forced the match to twice be halted in the first half.

"The performance of Bulgaria's men's national team in recent months has been described as unsatisfactory, which is why the national coach Krasimir Balakov resigned, which was accepted by the members of the [executive committee]," the BFU's statement read.

Balakov initially said he did not hear the abuse directed at England's players at Vasil Levski National Stadium but later apologised to Gareth Southgate's squad and condemned the behaviour of the fans responsible.

"I would like to say very clearly: since there were cases of racial discrimination in Sofia, I would like to sincerely apologise to the English footballers and to all those who felt offended," Balakov wrote in a letter posted to his official Facebook page.

Balakov's decision to quit after five months in charge follows that of BFU president Borislav Mihaylov, who was urged to stand down by Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov.

The organisation's former vice-president Mikhail Kasabov has been temporarily installed as Mihaylov's replacement after two others rejected the opportunity, with an extraordinary congress to elect a new board on the agenda.

The BFU is facing disciplinary proceedings from UEFA in response to the ugly scenes at Monday's match, during which several supporters appeared to perform Nazi salutes.

Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov has apologised after initially saying he did not hear the racist abuse directed at England players during Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

England claimed a 6-0 win but the match was marred by incidents in the stands, which were reported to officials and resulted in two delays to the action before half-time.

UEFA opted to charge the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) for "racist behaviour (chants, Nazi salutes)", with local reports indicating four people have been arrested in connection.

BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigned under pressure from Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov in the wake of the furore.

Before the match, coach Balakov claimed England had a bigger problem with racism in football than his own country, then insisted after the game he had not heart the chanting.

But he has since issued an apology after accepting racist abuse did occur.

In a letter posted to his official Facebook page, Balakov wrote: "I condemn all forms of racism as an unacceptable behaviour that contradicts normal human relations.

"I think that this form of prejudice should be buried deep in our past, and no one should ever be subjected [to it].

"I have trained many Bulgarian teams with players of different origin and never anyone judging by the colour of their skin. In addition, I have always participated actively in all initiatives involving privileged people or those who need to be involved.

"My comments before the game against England that Bulgaria did not have problems with racism is based on the fact that the local championship did not see such a problem on a large scale.

"There may have been individual cases, but it's definitely not something you see at the stadium. The majority of football fans do not participate in this kind [of behaviour], and I believe that this has also been the case in the game against England.

"I would like to say very clearly: since there were cases of racial discrimination in Sofia, I would like to sincerely apologise to the English footballers and to all those who felt offended.

"At the same time, however, I would like to address everyone who uses hateful language on social media, that my words have been incorrectly removed from context - and if that does not stop, I will be forced to take legal action against it."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for "new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football" after England players were subjected to abuse in Bulgaria.

UEFA has charged the Bulgarian Football Union over racist behaviour by fans during England's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win.

The game was halted twice before half-time and a group of supporters who made "monkey chants" and Nazi salutes were ejected from the ground.

Tuesday's fallout from those shameful scenes included BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigning after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov threatened to cut funding if he did not step down.

FIFA pledged to extend any sanctions imposed by UEFA worldwide and Infantino, who previously fronted European football's governing body, suggested now is the time for football to take a harder line against racism, including life bans for any perpetrators.

"So many times we say there is no place for racism in football, but nonetheless we still face challenges to tackle this problem in our sport, as we do in society," he said.

"We will need the support of public authorities to help us identify and punish the culprits but we probably also need to think more broadly on what we can do to fix this. 

"When we proposed the three-step procedure in 2009 when I was at UEFA, and then made the regulations even tougher a few years later, we could not have imagined that so shortly thereafter we would again be having to think of how to combat this obnoxious disease that seems to be getting even worse in some parts of the world."

Infantino added: "I call on all football governing bodies to join us and think together of new, stronger and more effective ways to eradicate racism in football. 

"As a starting point, I suggest that all competition organisers enact regulations which envisage life bans from stadiums for those who are found guilty of racist behaviour at a football match. FIFA can then enforce such bans at a worldwide level."

UEFA's three-step procedure to deal with racist incidents was partially enacted during Monday's match, with the initial stoppage coming after England players reported chants to the referee and an announcement calling for the abuse to cease was made over the stadium's public address system.

After a further complaint, match official Ivan Bebek asked England manager Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane whether he wished for them to take the teams from the field – in line with step two.

The close proximity to half-time was a factor in England being minded to play on and Southgate credited Bebek's conduct throughout as being "outstanding".

England debutant Tyrone Mings confirmed the players unanimously agreed to continue playing at half-time. The third step in the UEFA plan after taking the players from the field is an abandonment if abuse persists.

Infantino's UEFA successor Aleksander Ceferin made a strong defence of his organisation's record when it comes to dealing with racism.

"As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about UEFA’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark," he said.

"UEFA, in close cooperation with the FARE network (Football Against Racism Europe), instituted the three-stage protocol for identifying and tackling racist behaviour during games.

"UEFA's sanctions are among the toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at our matches."

Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov has warned foreign players will not want to play in his homeland after the racist abuse that stained Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against England.

UEFA has charged the Bulgarian Football Union over the actions of some fans at Vasil Levski National Stadium during the 6-0 defeat, namely racist chants and Nazi salutes.

The game was halted twice before half-time due to the abuse and Popov, 31, was praised for remonstrating with a group of supporters at the interval.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, who opened the scoring for England, tweeted: "Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time. 

"To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed. #NoToRacism."

Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov, who claimed not to have heard the offensive chants, suggested after the match that Popov was addressing his team's poor performance.

However, the Rostov midfielder left no doubt he was standing up against a blight on the game that "needs to be eradicated".

"First, I tried to talk with the stewards who were supposed to control the situation," Popov said, as quoted by the Guardian.

"We're all suffering from that kind of behaviour. Do you think a foreign player would like to come and play in Bulgaria after what happened tonight?

"Racism is a world problem that needs to be eradicated. We're all people regardless of the skin colour."

On Tuesday, BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigned after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov threatened to cut funding if he did not step down.

UEFA has charged the Bulgarian Football Union over racist behaviour by Bulgaria fans during Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against England in Sofia.

England's 6-0 win was halted twice before half-time due to racist abuse being directed towards black players in the visitors' line-up.

A section of supporters who were ejected from Vasil Levski National Stadium aimed "monkey chants" at Raheem Sterling, Tyrone Mings and Marcus Rashford and were also seen making Nazi salutes.

Tuesday's fallout from the shameful scenes has included BFU president Borislav Mihaylov resigning after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov threatened to cut funding if he did not step down.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin urged the "football family" and authorities including governments to "wage war on the racists" and his organisation has now taken action.

A statement issued by UEFA read: "Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA European Qualifiers match between Bulgaria and England (0-6), played on October 14.

"Charges against Bulgarian Football Union: Racist behaviour (chants, Nazi salutes)… Throwing of objects… Disruption of national anthem… Replays on giant screen."

The Football Association must also answer a charge of disrupting a national anthem after England fans jeered during the pre-match pleasantries.

Additionally, an "insufficient number of travelling stewards" mean the FA is accused of falling foul of UEFA's safety and security regulations.

UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will deal with the case.

Elsewhere, UEFA is looking into salutes performed by Turkey's players during their matches against Albania and France – an apparent show of support for their country's military offensive in Kurdish-held regions in northern Syria.

European football's governing body prohibits provocative political statements inside stadiums.

UEFA said: "An Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to initiate disciplinary investigations with regard to potential provocative political behaviour by players of the national team of the Turkish Football Federation on the occasion of the 2020 European Championship Qualifying Round matches played against the national team of the Football Association of Albania on 11 October 2019 and the national team of the French Football Federation on 14 October 2019, respectively."

Bulgaria goalkeeper Plamen Iliev has accused England players of overreacting in the face of racist abuse during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia.

Gareth Southgate's team cruised to a 6-0 victory in the Bulgarian capital, with Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling both scoring twice to take England to the brink of qualification.

But Sterling was one of the players targeted by racist chanting during the match, which was stopped twice before half-time – initially for a stadium announcement calling for the abuse to cease before a group of Bulgaria fans were ejected from the Vasil Levski National Stadium.

Southgate and his players discussed whether they should resume the match during half-time before closing out a commanding win, with the abuse they received widely condemned afterwards.

However, Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov claimed he did not hear the offensive chanting and said it must be "proven" before his country received any punishment.

That view was apparently not shared at board level, with Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mihaylov – a former international goalkeeper for Bulgaria – tending his resignation after prime minister Boyko Borissov threatened to cut the organisation's funding if he remained in the wake of Monday's shameful scenes.

But Bulgaria's current goalkeeper fell into line with the views expressed by his coach.

"If I am honest, I believe they [the fans] behaved well,” Iliev said, as quoted by the Guardian.

"There wasn't any abuse [as far as I could hear] and I think they [the England players] overreacted a bit.

"The public was on a good level – I didn’t hear any bad language used towards their or our players."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin called on the "football family" and governments to "wage war on the racists" on Tuesday in a strongly worded statement.

UEFA has charged the Bulgarian Football Union over racist behaviour by Bulgaria fans during Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against England in Sofia.

Page 4 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.