Real Madrid have officially confirmed they will partake in FIFA's expanded Club World Cup after Carlo Ancelotti's comments about the competition were misinterpreted. 

A statement was released by the recently crowned Champions League winners on Monday after Ancelotti told Italian daily Il Giornale he felt that FIFA had undervalued the compensation Los Blancos should receive for playing in next year's revamped 32-team tournament.

"FIFA can forget it, footballers and clubs will not participate in that tournament," Ancelotti was quoted as saying.

However, the Italian distanced himself from those comments in a social media post on Monday.

"Nothing could be further from my interest than to reject the possibility of playing in a tournament that I consider to be a great opportunity to continue fighting for major titles with Real Madrid," Ancelotti wrote on Instagram.

Madrid were quick to release a statement of their own surrounding the issue, reading: "Real Madrid C. F. informs that at no time has its participation in the new Club World Cup to be organised by FIFA in the next 2024-2025 season been questioned.

"Therefore, our club will play, as planned, this official competition that we face with pride and with the utmost enthusiasm to make our millions of fans around the world dream again of a new title."

The revamped competition has been expanded to allow 32 teams to compete in the United States at the end of next season.

It will be made up of teams from six federations, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Madrid already qualified due to past success on the European and global stage.

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Real Madrid will reject FIFA's invitation to participate in the Club World Cup in 2025, citing a lack of financial incentive for the 15-time European champions.

The revamped competition has been expanded to allow 32 teams to compete in the tournament, which is set to take place in the United States at the end of next season.

It will be made up of teams from six federations, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Madrid already qualified due to past success on the European and global stage.

FIFA have reportedly been discussing rights and prize money with clubs, but with concerns over player welfare due to a bulging fixture schedule, Ancelotti, who has won the competition three times with Milan and Los Blancos, believes it is not worthwhile for the LaLiga champions.

"FIFA can forget it, footballers and clubs will not participate in that tournament," Ancelotti told Italian daily Il Giornale in an interview published on Monday.

"A single Real Madrid match is worth €20million and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the whole cup. Negative. Like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation."

The 65-year-old led Madrid to their 15th European crown following a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Ancelotti returned to the Bernabeu in 2021 after leaving Everton, and was keen to highlight the pressures of being a coach in the modern game, revealing how he managed to stay passionate about his job.

"I see nothing particularly new, this has always been our job but the case of Jurgen Klopp is significant. The pressure continues, the burden of responsibility becomes too heavy, obsession takes over," he said.

"I keep my passion, that's how I live the match, the game, my job; I've always carried this balance with me. I've overcome moments that weren't always positive; after my experience with Everton I was off the radar, they thought I was finished, I was old."

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner is "determined" to take Premier League games to the United States and elsewhere around the globe.

The subject of leagues playing regular-season matches abroad has become a subject of debate in recent weeks, after FIFA pledged to analyse the impact of moving games.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters recently said the door was "ajar" for games to be played in other countries, due to a legal settlement between FIFA and US-based match promoter Relevant Sports.

Premier League fans would likely oppose overseas games more than most, with supporter protests in England having contributed to the demise of the European Super League in 2021.

Liverpool were one of the clubs at the forefront of that ill-fated project, and Werner has risked the wrath of Reds fans by putting his name to plans for global games.

"I'm determined one day to have a Premier League game be played in New York City," Werner told the Financial Times.

"I even have the crazy idea that there would be a day where we play one game in Tokyo, one game a few hours later in Los Angeles, one game a few hours later in Rio, one game a few hours later in Riyadh.

"We make it a day where football, where the Premier League, is celebrated."

Asked how clubs could get fans to support the plans, Werner added: "Let's figure out a way to offer them very cheap travel and accommodation.

"If Liverpool are playing Nottingham Forest, we will support fans coming to New York and make this an attractive thing for the fans as well."

Liverpool will play in the US during pre-season, facing Arsenal in Philadelphia on July 31 before taking on Manchester United in Columbia, South Carolina three days later.

LaLiga is also looking to revive plans to play matches abroad, after opposition from players and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) killed a proposal for Barcelona to face Girona in Miami in 2019.

FIFA and UEFA have been told to stop their opposition against the European Super League (ESL), with a Spanish court ruling warning of anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of a dominant position.

Madrid's commercial court said on Monday the European and world governing bodies violated competition law by banning and punishing clubs from participating in a proposed new tournament.

FIFA and UEFA were told to reverse any anticompetitive actions committed in the past after A22 Sports Management, the company behind the plan to create the ESL, brought the case to Spanish court.

"It's an important step towards a truly competitive and sustainable club football landscape in Europe," A22 CEO Bernd Reichart said in a statement after the ruling. 

"For too long UEFA has been allowed to control and dominate club football at European level."

Reichart added that UEFA's position on the ESL has "stifled innovation for decades", though celebrated "the era of the monopoly [as] definitively over". 

The case was also brought against LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), though that pair and UEFA insisted the court ruling did not explicitly support the creation of the Super League.

"The court has not given the green light to, nor has it approved, projects like the Super League," UEFA said in a follow-up statement. 

"In fact, the judge has asserted that the Super League project has long been abandoned and that she cannot be expected to rule on any abstract projects.

"In short, the judgment does not give third parties the right to develop competitions without authorisation and does not concern any future project or indeed any modified version of an existing project."

English football's so-called 'big six' – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were founding members of the original Super League project in April 2021.

Yet those Premier League clubs quickly withdrew amid fan protests and pressure from the football authorities, with Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid following a similar suit.

UEFA has since changed its rules around new competitions following the collapse of the ESL proposal in April 2021 and the court says those new rules are unaffected by Monday's ruling.

"The court also confirmed that the current version of UEFA's authorisation rules [as adopted in June 2022] is not affected by today's ruling," the European governing body added.

Brazil have seen off competition from a joint bid by Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to earn the right to host the 2027 Women's World Cup.

The United States and Mexico were thought to be favourites to host the next edition of FIFA's showpiece women's football tournament, but they withdrew their bid in April.

They signalled their intention to focus on a bid for the 2031 tournament, while a South African bid for the 2027 event was also withdrawn last November.

That left Brazil and the joint European bid as the only contenders, and on Friday, it was confirmed the 2027 tournament will be the first to be held in South America.

"Congratulations to Brazil," FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.

"We will have the best World Cup in Brazil. Many thanks as well to the BNG bid, who have been fantastic."

The decision was made at FIFA's annual congress in Bangkok, becoming the first Women's World Cup to be awarded via an open vote of member nations.

Brazil – the host nation for two men's World Cups in 1950 and 2014 – garnered 119 votes to their rivals' 78. 

Brazil had launched a bid to hold the 2023 tournament, only to withdraw it due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Australia and New Zealand ultimately co-hosted, with Spain beating England in the final for their first world crown.

Stronger enforcement on time-wasting goalkeepers was the major development to emerge from the annual meeting of football’s lawmakers as plans to extend sin bin trials to higher levels of the sport were quietly dropped.

Fans could be encouraged to join in countdowns on goalkeepers holding on to the ball too long in proposals approved by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Scotland on Saturday.

In competitions taking part in the trial, goalkeepers would be able to hold onto the ball for eight seconds instead of six and the sanction for holding on too long would be a corner or a throw-in in line with the penalty spot, rather than an indirect free-kick.

The plan was one of three trials approved for use in domestic competitions below the top two tiers, with the other two focusing on helping improve player behaviour towards match officials.

But the use of sin bins for dissent will remain at grassroots level for the time being.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino had already ruled out the use of blue cards for temporary dismissals on the eve of the meeting on the banks of Loch Lomond, and did not attend the media conference afterwards before the board headed off to watch St Mirren take on Aberdeen.

The PA news agency understands blue cards had been set to be part of a trial of sin bins at higher levels which were close to publication last month.

But they will not now be extended to higher levels – or to punish tactical fouls – any time soon despite FIFA referees committee chairman Pierluigi Collina claiming in November that discussions were under way about using them in “professional or even high professional football”.

The only developments were two refinements to the current grassroots trials, which will see sin bin yellow cards count towards a potential red card, and players having to wait for the next stoppage before their 10-minute period in the sin bin ends.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “The sin bin proposal definitely hasn’t gone further backwards.

“We’ve updated the protocol so we will assess how that works in that environment before we decide on what the next steps of those trials would be and if we start to take that further up the football pyramid.”

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham added: “If the trials at the lower levels work, of course the conversation continues throughout the pyramid.”

Bullingham admitted the news emerging in February had created a challenge as Premier League managers such as Tottenham’s Ange Postecoglou criticised the plans.

“I don’t think that was ever the intention for the trial to start in the Premier League,” he said.

Two trials linked to player behaviour which were approved were the ability for referees to create zones around themselves which only captains can enter, and for referees to order cooling-off periods where both teams would be required to retreat to their penalty areas.

Plans to tackle time-wasting will see a trial to increase the limit that a goalkeeper can hold on to the ball from six to eight seconds – but actually enforce it. It was recognised that referees are reluctant to give indirect free-kicks in the box, so the punishment could be a corner or a throw-in to the opposition instead.

Bullingham said: “The idea is, once the goalkeeper has got the ball under control, and the referee puts up his hand so that the (last) five seconds gets counted down, you’ll see the crowd respond to that and the other players will.”

The FA chief executive envisages some of the trials could take place in the lower levels of the English Football League or the National League.

“What level we will look at is an open discussion, I’m sure we’ll get that discussion with the relevant leagues,” he added.

Other law changes include the option for competitions to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions – something which has been trialled in the Premier League since the 2020-21 season. But calls from leagues and players’ unions for temporary subs to allow for head injury assessments were not taken up.

There were no discussions on extending the scope of VAR checks and the only nod to improving the communication between match officials and clubs and supporters over decisions was the move to extend FIFA’s trial where the referee publicly announces their decision and potentially their reasons.

The scheme was in place during last year’s Women’s World Cup and FIFA secretary general Mattias Grafstrom confirmed it will be further trialled at the Olympics this summer.

The committee did not discuss the prospect of broadcasting conversations between referees and video assistants live, or releasing audio on a regular basis.

Maxwell said: “VAR has not been in too long in Scotland and we are working through that process with the rest of football to try to increase that engagement and understanding.”

Two new trials to improve player behaviour and one aimed at reducing time-wasting have been approved by the game’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board.

Here the PA news agency looks at what we know, with the full detail of the protocols set to be published in the coming days.

All three trials will initially be open to competitions up to and including a country’s third tier, so as high as League One in English football.

CAPTAIN-ONLY ZONES

The referee can create a captain-only zone at any stage, but it is most likely to be used following major decisions and to prevent significant confrontations, and situations where a referee feels intimidated or threatened. Once created, no players other than team captains will be allowed to enter.

Any other player entering the zone should be cautioned for dissent.

COOLING-OFF PERIOD

Referees in competitions which adopt the trial will be able to suspend play in the event of significant confrontations and initiate an official cooling-off period.

Once the referee has called for a cooling-off period, players must go to their respective penalty areas, or another area as indicated by the referee.

THE EIGHT-SECOND RULE

In this trial, goalkeepers will be able to hold onto the ball for eight seconds instead of six. Competitions operating the trial will be able to opt for one of two choices of restart – the opposing team having a corner or a throw-in.

Currently goalkeepers who hold on for longer than six seconds should be penalised with the award of an indirect free-kick in the penalty area to the opposing team. The IFAB has received feedback that the six-second rule is rarely enforced because it is felt that the sanction is too extreme, and over the difficulty of managing an indirect free-kick in the 18-yard box.

Referees will count down the final five seconds on the fingers of one hand to clearly signal to goalkeepers how long they have left.

A sin bin trial featuring blue cards was conspicuous by its absence as football’s lawmakers set out plans to improve player behaviour on Saturday.

The PA news agency understands blue cards were set to be part of a trial of sin bins at higher levels of the sport, with details of the trial having been close to publication by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

Media reports about blue cards published on February 8 drew a negative response on social media and from the likes of Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou, and plans to publish the trial details were delayed pending further talks at Saturday’s annual general meeting.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Friday night he “wasn’t aware” blue cards were intended to be used in the trial and said his organisation was “completely opposed” to the idea, and an IFAB press release issued on Saturday mentioned two other protocols designed to help referees regulate player behaviour had been approved – giving referees the option to create captain-only zones and cooling-off areas in the event of mass confrontations.

But there was no mention of the sin bin trial or blue cards, only that “current guidelines to temporary dismissals in youth and grassroots football” had been “improved”.

“Any potential wider application will only be considered once the impact of these changes have been reviewed,” the release said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has emphatically ruled out the prospect of blue cards playing any part in a future sin bin trial.

The cards were set to be the signal which would be used by referees to show that a player had been temporarily dismissed in sin bin trial protocols which were due for publication on February 9, and had been signed off at a board meeting of the game’s lawmaking body, the International Football Association Board, earlier that week.

However, when reports about blue cards circulated on February 8 they received a largely negative reaction, and the IFAB pulled the plug on the day scheduled for publication, citing the need for further talks at the organisation’s annual general meeting this weekend.

On the eve of Saturday’s meeting in Loch Lomond, Infantino said: “There will not be any blue cards used at elite level. This is a topic that is non-existent for us.

“FIFA is completely opposed to blue cards. I was not aware of this topic. I’m the president of FIFA, and I think FIFA has a say in the IFAB. So, I don’t know if you want the title, ‘It’s red card to the blue card’!

“Every proposal and every idea has to be treated with respect, of course. But, once you look at it, you also have to protect the game, the essence of the game, the tradition of the game, and there is no blue card.”

The introduction of a blue card at the level initially envisaged in the trial would have been the biggest single change in the management of player discipline since the introduction of red and yellow cards at the 1970 World Cup.

It is understood the trial itself will continue to be developed, but it is expected it will now take place at a much lower footballing level than was anticipated by the original February 9 protocol, which was set to encourage applications from all but the very top-level competitions.

The Football Association, one of the five bodies which makes up the IFAB, had been understood to have been interested in running a trial in the men’s and women’s FA Cups in the future, before the furore around blue cards.

The trial will also require a new signal to be used instead of the blue card. In grassroots football, referees show a yellow card and point to the touchline.

There are also set to be further talks on Saturday about whether any sin bin trial should include tactical fouls, as well as dissent. Also under the original protocol, all players on the pitch, including goalkeepers, could be temporarily dismissed.

Sin bin trials were one of four protocols set for publication last month before the blue card story broke.

The IFAB is also seeking to trial allowing referees the option of creating a ‘captain-only zone’ around them when they feel threatened or intimidated, and a trial where referees can send teams to their respective penalty areas to cool off in the event of mass confrontations.

All of these, including the sin bin protocols, are ultimately intended to improve player behaviour at higher levels, something Infantino has said is essential to set the right example to young players and ensure people still feel safe, and encouraged, to be referees.

Another trial that had been set for publication on February 9 concerned how long goalkeepers can handle the ball, and how play should restart when they hold on too long.

Currently keepers can hold on for six seconds and anything over that is supposed to be penalised with an indirect free-kick, but lawmakers are concerned this is not being properly enforced which is why a trial has been developed.

The management of head injuries is also on the AGM agenda.

The World Leagues Forum and world players’ union FIFPRO have again written to the IFAB asking for permission to trial temporary concussion substitutes, something which was again rejected at last year’s AGM in London.

The player union and domestic league in Scotland, this year’s host nation for the AGM, are among those seeking the right to conduct such a trial.

“From our perspective, we have a responsibility to those former players who are sadly living with dementia,” PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said.

“But we also have to take responsibility as a game – whether it’s the unions, leagues, the government bodies – for current players and future players, to minimise the chances, as much as we possibly can, of players getting dementia. We’re involved in this initiative because we do feel that temporary concussion subs are the next step forward.”

Trials of permanent concussion substitutes were first approved by the IFAB in December 2020.

Duarte Gomes feels the future of VAR is "bright" despite the issues it has seen since its introduction.

The 2018 World Cup was the first competition to have VAR implemented, with the Premier League introducing it for the 2019-20 campaign.

It has been much-maligned in some quarters, though, particularly with fans who feel it has slowed games down and even got decisions wrong in some cases, such as Luis Diaz's incorrectly disallowed goal during Liverpool's loss at Tottenham earlier in the season.

Despite the teething problems, former FIFA referee Gomes still feels VAR's implementation has been a success, though he concedes it still has issues.

"I believe the future is bright for VAR," Gomes told Stats Perform. "I can see improvements in many situations, but I can also see some failures, which I believe is still normal at this level.

"The introduction of VAR, I believe it's the most important change in referees in history, so sometimes it takes time.

"They have to be fast and accurate and it's not easy. Sometimes they have to get the best image from the technician. So it's a growing process. But so many good decisions have been made, especially when it comes to offsides, goals. What is allowed or correctly validated after VAR. Also, violence that the referee cannot see on the pitch and happens very clearly."

Much of the frustration with VAR, at least in England, has centred on the perceived move away from only correcting clear and obvious errors, which was highlighted as the primary reason for its introduction.

Gomes agrees it should only be used for less subjective decisions, saying: "I believe that VAR should be exclusively used for very factual decisions. For example, like goalline technology on the goals or offside technology or with the line, that's very yes and no, black or white.

"When you have grey areas like pushing and holding and maybe a hand, maybe not. You have to change this. I think it will be better."

Gomes believes one area that could be improved would be to have officials whose sole role is VAR, rather than the current system of having referees and assistant referees in the VAR room.

"As for now, we have the career of an assistant referee," Gomes added. "We should have a career only for the VAR.

"They get their information only by having the decisions evaluated on TV on the screen. They should be professional at that, they cannot be referees and VARs at the same time."

Fans have a right to be concerned over the proposed introduction of blue cards in football, according to former FIFA referee Duarte Gomes.

Football lawmakers IFAB announced this month it would trial the implementation of blue cards, which would see players sin-binned for 10 minutes should they commit dissent or a cynical foul.

The announcement was met with concern, with the Premier League stating it would not be part of any trial, while FIFA also distanced itself from the proposals.

Gomes understands the concerns, although he also feels the introduction of blue cards could help to clamp down on dissent in the game.

"Yes, I understand fans' worries," Gomes told Stats Perform. "I understand that they are very emotional sometimes.

"They are very close to their teams, which kills the clarity in their minds. That's perfectly normal, and they have some right to be worried because this is something very strong.

"I think the idea is to prevent more things happening, not to be punished all the time. Maybe we pass the message in the first matches with a yellow, with a blue card, and then the players understand that when they go out for 10 minutes, they will be out of the match without participating.

"They will hurt their teams because they will be with one less player, and it will change a lot. So, this will be the good part, to make a statement to tell them 'don't do that'."

Gomes compared the proposals to VAR, which has undergone many teething problems since its introduction, saying: "I am sure that at this point, in what concerns for example, VAR, everybody with some distance and some clarity can say it was a very good measure because thousands and thousands of situations were corrected using VAR. So maybe this will happen with the blue card."

Gomes has reservations of his own, though, particularly in regards to how impacted teams will potentially look to shut the game down to get through their numerical disadvantage without their chances of victory being hurt.

"We need to balance that, because maybe one solution can create many problems for the referee and become the opposite of the spirit that is trying to be done," Gomes said.

Another worry is the impact of the blue cards on the tempo of the game, which is already under the spotlight with VAR. Gomes shares this view, too.

"I do have some worries about breaking time," Gomes continued. "Again, making the game less fluid and impacting on the emotions of people, because the match will depend on 10 and then 11 and then 10. And it stops and somebody will have to count the 10 minutes.

"There may be a small problem concerning the spectacle, so let's wait and see."

Gomes also highlighted football's uniqueness as a sport in relation to the intensity of emotion as another reason for fans' concerns, adding: "We cannot compare any other indoor sports that have the blue card with football, which is very different in the bigger atmosphere with lots of emotions involved, many, many people.

"Football is very peculiar, very sensitive, it's a world phenomenon, and when you want to change something, you have to do it very carefully, not to hurt the match, not to hurt the spectators, the emotions, but also the players and the teams, and the referees."

Embattled former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, believes his “nightmare is over,” after the United States Supreme Court and a lower court threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to football corruption in September last year.

According to a January 27, 2024 New York Times article, these rulings “cast doubt on the legal basis for a host of prosecutions” surrounding those involved in scandals coming out of the December 2015 raids on FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland.

In June 2011, Warner, who was then provisionally suspended by the world football governing body for alleged corruption, resigned from all his international football posts. Warner was one of 14 top FIFA officials and corporate executives to be accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering while he was FIFA vice-president.

Warner was later indicted in 29 charges of corruption in the US in 2015. Extradition proceedings against him remain on hold.

In an interview with i95.5FM last Thursday, Warner said the court’s ruling to toss the convictions of an ex-21st Century Fox executive and sports marketing company on corruption charges in a case involving FIFA has him feeling relieved.

That September case, according to the New York Times, is one in which “the two defendants benefited from two recent Supreme Court rulings that had rejected federal prosecutors’ application of the law at play in the soccer cases and offered rare guidance on what is known as honest services fraud.

“The defendants in the soccer trial had been found to have engaged in bribery that deprived organizations outside the US of their employees’ honest services, which constituted fraud at the time. But the judge ruled that the court’s new guidance meant that those actions were no longer prohibited under American law.”

On this decision, Warner declared his agreement.

“I am in firm agreement with the US Supreme Court statement on the matter. I always knew the US were wrong to attack and destroy FIFA and destroy people’s lives just because they didn’t get a World Cup venue,” Warner said, referring to the US' failed 2022 World Cup bid.

That World Cup bid was won by Qatar, but several FIFA officials, including Warner, were accused of accepting bribes.

“It is utterly ridiculous for people to be imprisoned and to be charged for being a member of a private organisation as FIFA, and to be charged by the US government on what they did or did not do during their stay in FIFA,” Warner argued.

“I am feeling relieved. My life has been destroyed, my family’s life has been destroyed and I have spent tonnes of money on this matter. All I did was to tell FIFA that it is time to change the paradigm of giving the World Cup to Europe and South America. I said to them, ‘just go to the Middle East’.

“It is this that has caused me to be where I am today. The irony is that people in the Middle East, thanks to my efforts and others, Qatar (which hosted the World Cup in 2022) has produced one of the best World Cups this world has ever seen. So, I feel vindicated in a sense for what I have done, but the price that I have paid for that is overbearing,” he added.

The French footballers’ union is considering taking legal action over changes to football’s international calendar which it says are impacting on players’ physical and mental health.

David Terrier, the vice-president of the UNFP, claims FIFA has introduced a 32-team Club World Cup to an already congested calendar without proper consultation, and says its actions are driven by “a thirst for money”.

Terrier’s comments to the PA news agency follow a warning from Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango in December that the stage had been reached where “people are ready to take legal action” over this issue.

Terrier said: “Faced with the refusal of FIFA and UEFA, faced with the addition of competitions, the drastic increase in injuries, mental fatigue which is hitting more and more players, what other answer can we give than to initiate legal proceedings which will allow us to stop the headlong rush promoted by FIFA in its thirst for competition and – no one is fooled – for money?

“It is necessary that it stops. We are already studying at the UNFP the possibilities offered to us to bring the calendar issue before the courts. We can’t be blamed for not trying to find a solution through dialogue.

“The international calendar is adrift and it is up to us to bring it back to port as quickly as possible using all means at our disposal.”

PA understands any legal action taken by UNFP would not be directly against FIFA.

Terrier said the current schedule was “insane” even without the new-look Club World Cup, which is set to take place in the United States in the summer of 2025.

Terrier called on others to support players on this issue, adding: “What I don’t understand, apart from the words of the coaches, some too rare presidents and the medical profession, why (unions and) the players, are the only ones fighting against disruption of the calendar.

“Because this also impacts clubs, whose players are more often injured, and the national leagues which, as in France, are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain TV rights that live up to their expectations.

“It must be said that the repetition of matches ultimately harms the quality of the show and neither the broadcasters nor the spectators are fooled.

“Today and tomorrow will be worse, everyone loses. So why are we the only ones to fight? It’s incomprehensible.”

Domestic leagues are understood to be assessing their legal options in regard to the Club World Cup, over concerns of the direct impact it will have on start dates for their competitions and indirectly on the value of television rights, with only a finite amount of broadcaster cash available to spend.

Paris St Germain will be France’s sole representatives in the Club World Cup, and their president Nasser Al Khelaifi is the president of the European Club Association which has endorsed the tournament.

A FIFA spokesperson said: “The decision to enlarge the FIFA Club World Cup is in line with FIFA’s Vision as the tournament will provide a relevant platform for clubs from all continents, giving them the opportunity to compete on the world stage, thus taking club football to the next level.

“This is also in line with FIFA’s objective of making football truly global by having clubs competing at the highest level.

“The enlarged FIFA Club World Cup, which is supported by the European Club Association (ECA) and will take place once every four years, also fits into FIFA’s key objective to have meaningful football matches, while also recognising that many regions need more competitive football.

“When it comes to player welfare, it’s worth stressing that the FIFA Club World Cup replaces the FIFA Confederations Cup which was last played in 2017. FIFA has not simply ‘added’ a new competition but also annulled one.”

Trinidad and Tobago's Football Association (TTFA) recently took a step closer to a return to self-governance when members voted unanimously in favour of revising statutes to its constitution, as stipulated by FIFA.

The revision took place during an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) hosted by TTFA at the Home of Football in Couva.

Revision of the existing constitution was mandated by FIFA in order to effectively dissolve the TTFA’s normalisation committee, which was installed in March 2020 to replace the elected executive, led by William Wallace.

With this latest development, the highly anticipated election to install a new TTFA executive will take place before March 31, when the normalisation committee’s tenure ends.

All 30 eligible members voted in favour of the changes at the meeting, where FIFA and Concacaf officials observed. The recent EGM was arranged after FIFA declared that the proposed TTFA statutes “(fully comply) with the requirements and standards of FIFA and Concacaf,” and are therefore endorsed by both.

The elected administration was controversially taken over by FIFA after the world governing body said it observed “grave violations of FIFA statutes,” and other problems within the TTFA, such as debts, which put it at risk of insolvency.

As such, the normalisation committee was installed by FIFA primarily to run day-to-day business; settle debts; make recommendations for constitutional amendments to align with FIFA statutes; and to call the TTFA elections, of which it would oversee.

TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed said a copy of the new statutes “will probably be published on (TTFA’s) website this week.”

“There are many provisions (to assist) in ensuring there is accountability and prudent financial governance as per policies, controls and signing authority,” Mohammed told T&T Newsday.

The voting structure has been amended and slate elections have been introduced. The executive committee will consist of nine members.

T&T Premier Football League Tier One clubs (maximum of 12) have a delegate and two votes each, along with the top six clubs from the second tier at the end of the most recent campaign.

Each of the regional associations and T&T Women’s League Football also have two votes and a delegate, while the remaining associations: beach soccer, futsal, referees, coaches, Secondary Schools Football League, Primary Schools Football League and the Veterans Football Foundation of T&T, all have one vote and delegate.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called for the implementation of an automatic forfeit of games for teams whose fans commit racist abuse after the “totally abhorrent” incidents at Udinese and Sheffield Wednesday.

AC Milan’s players walked off the pitch after France international goalkeeper Mike Maignan reported hearing monkey noises coming from a section of the crowd at the Stadio Friuli.

Coventry’s Kasey Palmer said he received similar abuse similar abuse at Hillsborough and their 2-1 win was stopped for several minutes while the match officials spoke to both managers.

Milan’s players eventually returned to secure a 3-2 victory in added time but Infantino said there should be harsher punishments.

“As well as the three-step process (match stopped, match re-stopped, match abandoned), we have to implement an automatic forfeit for the team whose fans have committed racism and caused the match to be abandoned, as well as worldwide stadium bans and criminal charges for racists,” he said in a FIFA post on X.

“FIFA and football shows full solidarity to victims of racism and any form of discrimination. Once and for all: No to racism! No to any form of discrimination!

“The events that took place in Udine and Sheffield on Saturday are totally abhorrent and completely unacceptable. The players affected by Saturday’s events have my undivided support.

“We need ALL the relevant stakeholders to take action, starting with education in schools so that future generations understand that this is not part of football or society.”

Maignan said something had to change as racist abuse has been part of football for too long.

“This shouldn’t exist in the world of football, but unfortunately for many years this is a recurrence,” he told Milan TV after confirming he heard fans making monkey noises.

“With all the cameras present and sanctions for these things, something must be done to change things.

“We all have to react, we must do something because you can’t play like this.”

Milan and city rivals Inter have both publicly supported Maignan, Serie A said it “condemns all forms of racism”, while France striker Kylian Mbappe said “enough is enough”.

“You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you. Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough. NO TO RACISM,” Mbappe posted on X.

Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright applauded the “solidarity” in the Milan side and urged teams to “keep walking off” when they hear abuse and called for stronger sanctions.

He wrote on X: “We did ‘playing through it’ and nothing has changed. Points deductions needed, the fines are pointless.”

However, Coventry midfielder Palmer admitted he was sceptical things would change in the game, also writing on X: “Racism is a disgrace… it has no place in the world, let alone football.

“I’m black and proud and I am raising my three kids to be the exact same. I’ll be honest, it feels like things will never change, no matter how hard we try.

“Couple fans doing monkey chants don’t define a fan base – I appreciate all the love and support I’ve received.”

Coventry owner Doug King and manager Mark Robins condemned the abuse and offered their full support to Palmer, while Sheffield Wednesday said they were “shocked and saddened” by the alleged incident and anyone found culpable will face “the strictest possible sanctions from both Sheffield Wednesday and the law”.

Page 1 of 17
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.