LaLiga has spoken out against FIFA over plans to reshape the structure of the 2026 World Cup into four-team groups.

Football's governing body had originally intended to have 16 groups of three teams after expanding from 32 to 48 nations for the tournament jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

However, following the Qatar 2022 edition, plans to maintain the current four-team system resurfaced and have now been rubber-stamped at FIFA's annual congress.

The decision has enraged LaLiga however, with the competition set to expand to 104 games from 64.

LaLiga has also objected to plans for a new international club tournament, which will join an expanded Club World Cup on the football calendar. The latter is due to take place every four years starting from 2025, but an as-yet-unnamed additional event is set to take place annually alongside it.

"Following the announcements made today at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, LaLiga states that FIFA continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar," read a statement.

"[FIFA is] showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general. FIFA completely neglects the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world.

"Leagues were not consulted about any of the changes presented, especially about the new annual club competition, of which we were completely unaware, and which seriously affects our competitions.

"These decisions do not take into account the competitive, sporting and economic impact on national leagues, clubs and players, by further cramming an already overloaded schedule.

"LaLiga and other leagues represented in the World Leagues Forum will analyse FIFA's decisions and decide on the most appropriate next steps."

Under the three-team World Cup group structure, all nations would have played two games before the top pair from each group would have proceeded to a round-of-32.

Now however, the eight best-ranked third-place sides from 12 groups will also be included in the mix, with the revised format ensuring every side plays at least three games.

It also means those who reach the final will play eight games, including the showpiece match itself, one more than teams who reach the end of the tournament currently partake in.

The German Football Association (DFB) has announced it will not support Gianni Infantino's re-election as FIFA president.

Infantino is set to be re-elected at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Rwandan capital Kigali on Thursday after no challengers came forward to stand against him in the leadership race.

However, despite Infantino having a clear run at another term in charge, Germany have joined a select few nations to publicly declare they do not back the decision.

The DFB added in a statement on Wednesday that it has contacted FIFA in recent weeks on a matter of issues but has received no reply or only insufficient information.

DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said: "The DFB will not support the re-election of FIFA president Gianni Infantino in Kigali. 

"We have received little to no substantial information from FIFA in response to several inquiries from our part in recent weeks, especially on contentious issues. 

"However, we can expect FIFA to take the concerns of its member associations seriously and address them. 

"FIFA should become much more transparent and open in its dealings with the national associations."

Neuendorf has previously criticised FIFA for its attempts to restrict teams' political protests at the Qatar World Cup, but he hopes for a positive outcome in future discussions.

"It is in its own interests to explain how and why certain decisions are made and who is involved in them. This has not been the case of late," he said.

"Nevertheless, there was a constructive exchange between several European member associations and the FIFA president on contentious issues today. 

"We therefore remain hopeful that this will lead to an improvement in our cooperation in the future.

"I am interested in maintaining a critical and constructive cooperation with FIFA, in particular with its president, and hope that this can be realised in the coming years."

Infantino succeeded Sepp Blatter as the president of world football governing body FIFA in February 2016.

The 2026 World Cup will maintain the four-team group stage format rather than change to three, FIFA has confirmed.

With the next iteration of the tournament in the United States, Mexico and Canada seeing the number of competing teams increase from 32 to 48, the intention had been to have 16 groups of three teams.

However, it is believed the exciting nature of the group stage at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar prompted a rethink, and it has now been confirmed that the four-team groups will continue, with the top two in each group and the eight best third-place teams going through to the knockout stage.

FIFA said in a statement on its website: "Based on a thorough review that considered sporting integrity, player welfare, team travel, commercial and sporting attractiveness, as well as team and fan experience, the FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment to the FIFA World Cup 2026 competition format from 16 groups of three to 12 groups of four with the top two and eight best third-placed teams progressing to a round of 32.

"The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams."

It was also announced at FIFA's council meeting in Rwanda that the next men's World Cup final will take place on Sunday, July 19, 2026 as the men's international calendar from 2025-2030 was confirmed.

Further details will be "published in the coming days", but FIFA was able to confirm some headline information from the calendar, including plans to have a 16-day, four match international window in late September/early October from 2026.

It was also confirmed that the women's international calendar from 2024-2025 will "contain six international windows per year".

Pierluigi Collina has urged referees to add the correct amount of stoppage time at the end of games regardless of the circumstances.

​FIFA's head of refereeing discussed Sunday's clash between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield, in which only three minutes were added at the end of the hosts' 7-0 win despite six goals having been scored in a second half that also saw 10 substitutions and a VAR delay.

The World Cup in Qatar had games elongated by added time that was supposed to be more reflective of actual time lost during the 90 minutes, but this trend has mostly not carried on into club football.

"Last weekend in the Premier League, there were 10 matches," Collina told reporters. "Four had additional time of 10 minutes or more [across the first half and second half], and two should have been higher but weren't only because they had scores of 7-0 and 4-0.

"In the game at Liverpool, there was four minutes added, one in the first half and three in the second. But there were six goals in the second half.

"Maybe at some point in the future we will have a rule which says: if the difference between the two sides is big, the additional time is not to be given. But this would be in the laws of the game.

"Now it is common sense, but it is [only] common sense when it doesn't affect someone.

"I can understand that showing the right amount of time when it is 7-0 is difficult to understand. But in some competitions, the goal difference in the entire competition may be decisive at the end for the ranking.

"So, even one goal scored or not scored could make the difference."

Former referee Collina believes adding on as much time as necessary would eventually stamp out time-wasting, much like the introduction of VAR appeared to reduce the amount of simulation in the game. 

"It's time to compensate time that was not played during the match," he said. "We are not considering to go from 70 to 75. No, we want to avoid just playing 43 minutes.

"The effective time at Aston Villa vs Brentford [earlier this season] was 43 minutes. I don't think someone wants to pay to watch a match that lasts 43 minutes.

"We have seen implementing VAR has reduced simulation. How many cards are now given for simulation? Very little because the players know it is meaningless to try.

"I am convinced time-wasting will be reduced when players know it is meaningless to waste time because that time is compensated."

FIFA could abandon plans for Saudi Arabia's tourism body to sponsor the Women's World Cup after a major backlash from co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.

The sport's governing body was reportedly set to add Visit Saudi as a tournament sponsor for the competition, though no official announcement has been made.

An angry response from both the two host nations and leading players, such as United States veteran Alex Morgan, has reportedly forced a rethink from FIFA now however.

Both Football Australia and New Zealand Football remain frustrated by a lack of clarity though, with the latter's chief executive Andrew Pragnell voicing his displeasure.

"I found the response fairly ambiguous," he told local media. "It didn't confirm nor deny the potential Visit Saudi sponsorship that has been reported in the media.

"It did allude to the importance of treating all member associations equally and the importance of engagement as opposed to isolation.

"Other than that, it stated that they'd be reaching out through their media and partnerships team for further conversations.

"We're left in a little bit of uncertainty as to what's going on here, to be frank, which is a bit disappointing.

"Anything further I say would be speculation because I don't know, but clearly our letter, given the delay in the response, and the absence of confirmation or denial, has caused some form of rethink in FIFA about this issue."

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson echoed his opposite number's comments, adding that any such sponsorship would not match their values for the tournament.

"It was an overwhelming consensus that this partnership does not align with our collective vision for the tournament and falls short of our expectations," he said.

"While we await further clarity and information as to the details of the partnership from FIFA, we continue to convey this clear message on behalf of Football Australia, New Zealand Football, and our community."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino committed to avoiding conflict over OneLove armbands at the Women's World Cup, promising to "have a position in place well before" the tournament begins.

A number of national teams at the Qatar 2022 men's World Cup, including Denmark, England and Germany, were planning to support the campaign that promotes inclusivity and opposes all discrimination.

Their captains were intending to wear an armband bearing the OneLove logo, but the teams backed down when FIFA threatened sporting sanctions – expected to be a yellow card for the captains.

The decision to host the World Cup in Qatar attracted criticism due to the country's stance on same-sex relationships, as well as the treatment of migrant workers.

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the women's tournament in July and August of this year, and senior figures from both countries have questioned what they believe is FIFA's intention to have the Visit Saudi tourism authority as a tournament sponsor.

Like Qatar, Saudi Arabia's position on rights for women and LGBTQ+ people has also been called into question by human rights groups. Both countries have been accused by critics of 'sportswashing', the attempt to bolster their international reputations by becoming closely involved with sport at the highest level.

Infantino was asked about the OneLove armbands on Saturday, following a meeting of football law-makers the International Football Association Board (IFAB).

He said: "What I can say on this issue is I think we all went through a learning process there [at the Qatar World Cup].

"What we will try to do better this time is to search and look for dialogue with everyone involved – the captains, the federations, the players generally, FIFA – from all over the world to capture the different sensitivities, to explain, to exchange, and to see what can be done in order to express a position, a value or a feeling that somebody has without hurting anyone else.

"In a positive way, we are looking for a dialogue and we will have a position in place well before the Women's World Cup, I hope so."

Human rights group Amnesty International was among the bodies that poured scorn on FIFA's position in Qatar.

Infantino was also asked about FIFA's progress on reviewing its transgender eligibility policy.

The world governing body said last year it was looking again at its rules and receiving help from experts in the matter, which has been a matter of great contention across sport.

It remains to be seen whether players who identify as female but were born male will be allowed to play at the Women's World Cup.

Infantino said: "There is no update yet, but also there we want to be as clear as possible as soon as possible, not to leave it until the end. On all these topics we need to learn our lesson and be a bit faster."

According to reports emerging from Trinidad and Tobago, football’s world-governing body FIFA has extended the mandate of the T&T Football Association (TTFA) normalization committee until March 31, 2024.

The decision, reports said, was "due to the challenges that the TTFA continues to face and to ensure that the mandate of the normalization committee. The mandate includes a revision and amendment and statutes and conducting of the election of a new TTFA executive, the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian reported Thursday.

FIFA first appointed the Normalization Committee in March 2020 following a FIFA/Concacaf fact-finding mission to assess, together with an independent auditor, the financial situation of TTFA.

The mission found that extremely low overall financial management methods, combined with a massive debt, have resulted in the TTFA facing a very real risk of insolvency and illiquidity. Such a situation is putting at risk the organization and development of football in the country and corrective measures need to be applied urgently, FIFA said.

The life of the normalization committee was further extended in December 2021 until March 2023.

FIFA has been criticised by a prominent former Australia footballer after appointing Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima as a global fan ambassador ahead of the Women's World Cup.

Moya Dodd, a former member of the FIFA executive committee, said it was a "truly baffling" decision that was "tone deaf".

World governing body FIFA announced Lima's role on Monday, saying the 41-year-old would "develop, promote and participate in several global initiatives involving fans from all over the world!".

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "When you get to meet Adriana, you feel right away her warmth, kindness, and how approachable and passionate she is about our game. She lives and breathes 'futebol' and that is also why she can be an excellent link between FIFA and fans worldwide."

However, Dodd questioned why FIFA should choose a model who has been quoted talking about the professional benefits of crash-dieting in the past, and who in a 2006 GQ interview was reported as saying she considered abortion "a crime".

Dodd's initial response to FIFA's move was to write: "Seriously, #FIFA, is this the fan engagement ambassador we need as the @FIFAWWC approaches? #tonedeaf".

She posted that message on Twitter alongside a screenshot of Lima's Twitter profile, which features the model in a near-naked pose.

Dodd added: "#FIFA please say you’re not paying this supermodel more than the players get for being at the @FIFAWWC".

In a follow-up post on LinkedIn, Dodd added how she believed Lima's "public image", based on her Twitter profile pictures, "looked an odd fit for an organisation that says it wants to empower girls and women, and whose president is required to be 'a vanguard' for promoting gender equality".

Dodd went on to say: "I asked whether the FIFA ambassador will be delivering messages on body image, wellbeing and healthy eating; or on a woman's right to choose?

"And it made me wonder: what will this ambassador represent to the large and growing population of aspirational #womensfootball players and fans who love the game because it shows us what empowerment and equality can look like?

"Because when a girl plays football, the world sees her differently. Instead of being complimented on her nice looks or her pretty dress, she is valued for her game-saving tackles and brilliant goal-scoring.

"She's admired for what she can DO, rather than how she looks, putting her on a more equal footing with her brothers in a way that can alter the whole trajectory of her life's ambitions."

Dodd added that, given this is a World Cup year: "That's the message that should be ringing loud and true around the world. Where a super-model fits into this is truly baffling."

Australia and New Zealand will co-host the Women's World Cup in July and August, and there have already been concerns and complaints raised in both countries about the prospect of the Visit Saudi tourism authority being reportedly lined up by FIFA as a major sponsor of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia has faced criticism from human rights groups over its attitudes towards women and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Just Fontaine has been hailed as an "eternal goalscorer" whose mark on football "will forever be remembered" following his death at the age of 89.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Wednesday that Fontaine had passed away overnight in Toulouse.

A minute's applause will be held in tribute to Fontaine at all French football grounds this week, starting with Wednesday's Coupe de France ties.

In a statement on their official website, the FFF described Fontaine as "the eternal goalscorer" and "a legend of world football".

FFF interim president Philippe Diallo added: "The death of Just Fontaine plunges French football into deep emotion and immense sadness.

"He wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the French team."

Fontaine's greatest achievement came in 1958 when scoring 13 goals in just six matches for France at the World Cup as Les Blues went on to finish third.

That remains the highest number of goals scored in a single edition of the tournament, while his tally of 13 goals overall has been bettered by only three players in history.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: "Just was a footballing icon and his tremendous performance in 1958 cemented his legacy as one of the greatest World Cup players ever.

"Scoring 13 goals in a single World Cup is a record which, to this day, has never been equalled. 

"The mark he left on world football will forever be remembered, and this record will probably never be beaten. My deepest condolences to Just's loved ones at this difficult time."

Fontaine scored 30 goals in 21 appearances for France between 1953 and 1960 in a career that was cut short by injury at the age of 28.

Current France head coach Didier Deschamps said: "The loss of Just Fontaine saddens me, as it will inevitably sadden all those who love football and our national team. 

"'Justo' is and will remain a legend of the France team.

"As a player and then coach, I had the chance to meet him on several occasions.

"In particular at his home, in Toulouse, in September 2017. He was a man of great kindness, very respectful of generations that succeeded his with Les Bleus. 

"His attachment to the France team was strong and sincere."

At club level, Fontaine won the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 with Nice before joining Reims.

He won three more league titles with Reims, the Coupe de France and was twice victorious in the Trophee des Champions, while also reaching the 1958-59 European Cup final.

"A star of French football, an outstanding striker, a legendary Reims player," his former club said in a statement.

Fontaine scored 164 goals in 200 Ligue 1 matches.

He reached the 100-goal mark in the competition by the age of 24 years and eight months, which only Herve Revelli (23y 5m) and Kylian Mbappe (22y 3m) have bettered.

Fontaine later moved into coaching and took charge of Paris Saint-Germain, Toulouse and the Morocco national side.

During his time with PSG, he guided the club to their only promotion to Ligue 1 – they have not been relegated since.

"A thought for Just Fontaine. An icon of French football who has left us," PSG tweeted.

Zlatko Dalic accused FIFA of showing "a lack of respect" for Croatia's World Cup heroes and revealed he refused to vote in the world body's The Best awards.

Croatia playmaker Luka Modric was a nominee in the men's player category, but Dalic did not make the five-man list for coach of the year.

In a fiery blast to Gianni Infantino's FIFA, Dalic argued Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol and Dominic Livakovic deserved recognition, suggesting all would have been in the frame for nominations if they belonged to a more fashionable footballing nation.

Dalic's team beat Brazil in the Qatar 2022 quarter-finals before falling to Argentina in the semi-finals. They then rebounded to beat Morocco in the third-place play-off, following their runner-up finish at the 2018 World Cup.

Scornful of Croatian players being left off voting lists, Dalic said: "If English, Brazilian, Spanish, German or Italian players and coaches had the kind of results that we do, they'd be on the shortlist for every possible football award.

"I want more respect for us, for our national team, for our players, and for myself, because with two medals, we more than deserve it. FIFA should promote the fact that a tiny country such as Croatia can play against the biggest nations in the world because that's the most beautiful message for the whole football world."

In a contemptuous statement issued through the Croatian FA, Dalic said: "I am disappointed with FIFA's attitude towards the Croatian national team because I strongly maintain that, based on everything we've achieved as a national team, we deserve more respect from the head governing body of world football than we have received.

"We are the only national team that was among the top four teams at both the World Cup in Qatar and in the current UEFA Nations League cycle.

"We made the front pages worldwide by winning a match against the world's greatest team Brazil, and along with France, we are the only team to have won two medals at the two most recent World Cups.

"This year, we beat France in Paris and Denmark in Copenhagen, we took Brazil and Belgium out of the World Cup. In the 23 matches we've played since Euro 2020, we've only lost twice. And yet even after all of that, look at the list of the 14 candidates for The Best FIFA Men's player – aside from the great Luka Modric, where are other Croatian players?"

He asked: "Was there really no place for Mateo Kovacic on that list, even though he's won the FIFA Club World Cup and played a brilliant World Cup in Qatar? Where is Josko Gvardiol's name? After all, he was listed among the Top 11 for both the World Cup and for the Bundesliga by most sources. And did Dominik Livakovic not deserve to be one of the five finalists for the Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper after everything he did in Qatar?"

Contenders for the coach award were Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti, France boss Didier Deschamps, Pep Guardiola of Manchester City, Morocco's Walid Regragui and Lionel Scaloni, whose Argentina won the World Cup. Scaloni took the honour.

Dalic said: "With all due respect for Morocco's head coach and their success at the World Cup, in the two matches we played against them, we tied once and Croatia won the bronze medal the second time."

The 56-year-old Dalic claimed this was not the first instance of feeling a lack of recognition.

He said: "I feel that we have not been extended the respect we deserve, and both the time slots of our matches at the World Cup and the quality of refereeing – especially at the semi-final match – made me feel that there was a lack of respect towards the Croatian team. I fully believe that our national team's performance on the pitch and conduct off of it has made us deserving of the very same respect that we show our opponents at every match."

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe have all been named on FIFA's FIFPro Men's Team of the Year 26-player shortlist for 2022.

Ronaldo's inclusion was arguably the major surprise after a difficult back half to the year where he was dropped by both Manchester United and Portugal, ultimately parting ways with the Red Devils in November.

The Portuguese star has made the Team of the Year, along with Messi, every year since 2007, but will face stiff competition among the forwards alongside Erling Haaland, Mbappe, Neymar, Robert Lewandowski and reigning Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema.

Last year, four forwards were named in the final XI; Ronaldo, Haaland, Lewandowski and Messi.

World Cup stars Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez are named in the shortlist for the first time in midfield, alongside Casemiro, Kevin de Bruyne, Gavi, Luka Modric, Pedri and Federico Valverde.

The defenders nominated are Joao Cancelo, Virgil van Dijk, Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Alphonso Davies, Josko Gvardiol, Achraf Hakimi and Theo Hernandez.

The goalkeepers in contention are Alisson Becker, Thibaut Courtois and Emiliano Martinez.

Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema have been shortlisted for the FIFA Best Men's Player Award.

Messi led Argentina to glory at last year's World Cup, scoring seven times, including twice in the final, and laying on three assists.

That ended a 36-year wait for a third world title for Argentina, while for many his performances in Qatar cemented Messi as the greatest of all time.

Argentina overcame France on penalties in the showdown at Lusail Stadium on December 18, though it was not for the want of trying from Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw, and like his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Messi also converted his spot-kick in the shoot-out.

Mbappe won the competition's Golden Boot award after netting eight goals, while he set up another two.

Between August 8, 2021 and December 18, 2022 – the time period on which this year's FIFA Best awards are based – Mbappe scored 58 goals for PSG, the highest figure of any player across Europe's top five leagues.

Third on that list is Real Madrid striker Benzema, who won last year's Ballon d'Or and makes up the final shortlist. He netted 50 times for Los Blancos, helping them win LaLiga and the Champions League, though he suffered an injury on the eve of the World Cup and had to withdraw from France's squad.

FIFA also confirmed the nominations for the Puskas Award for best goal.

Richarlison's stunning effort in Brazil's World Cup opener against Serbia has made the cut, as has an audacious half-volley from Dimitri Payet in Marseille's Europa Conference League clash with PAOK last April.

Marcin Oleksy, meanwhile, scored a sublime overhead kick for Warta Poznan amputee football against Stal Rzeszow, and the Pole joins Richarlison and Payet on the final shortlist.

The Best Women's Player Award will also be handed out at the FIFA ceremony on February 27.

Beth Mead was crucial in England's success at the Women's Euros last year, winning the Golden Boot and being named as Player of the Tournament.

Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas missed the tournament through injury but the Barcelona star makes the list, along with Alex Morgan.

United States forward Alex Morgan says it would be "bizarre" for the Women's World Cup to have a major sponsor from Saudi Arabia.

A possible move to see this year's FIFA tournament in Australia and New Zealand sponsored in part by tourism authority Visit Saudi has been revealed in recent weeks.

The move has generated significant backlash from both host countries, with focus on Saudi Arabia's human rights record, particularly in regard to women and LGBTQ people.

Morgan, a two-time World Cup winner with the USWNT, feels any partnership between the sport's governing body and Saudi Arabia would send a poor message to the tournament's players.

"I think it's bizarre that FIFA has looked to have a Visit Saudi sponsorship for the Women's World Cup," Morgan said.

"I, myself, Alex Morgan, would not even be supported and accepted in that country, so I just don't understand it.

"I think that what Saudi Arabia can do is put efforts into their women’s team that was just formed only a couple of years ago and doesn’t even have a current ranking within the FIFA ranking system because of the few games that they’ve played.

"So that would be my advice to them. And I really hope that FIFA does the right thing. Pretty much everyone has spoken out against [the proposed sponsorship] because morally it just doesn't make sense."

The United States step up their preparation for the World Cup this month with the SheBelieves Cup, as they prepare to face Canada, Brazil and Japan.

They will start their title defence against Vietnam at Auckland's Eden Park on July 22.

Organisers of the European Super League project are ready to include up to 80 teams in the competition, as they battle to turn the vision into a reality.

In a new manifesto published on Thursday, it was revealed clubs would be split into divisions and guaranteed at least 14 matches per season.

The intention is for clubs to participate in their domestic leagues alongside the European Super League.

According to Super League organisers A22, which describes itself as the company "formed to sponsor and assist" the development of the competition, almost 50 European clubs and stakeholders have been canvassed since October.

The "vast majority" are said to "share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change".

Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, said: “Clubs bear all entrepreneurial risks but too often are forced to sit on the sidelines when key decisions are made, and they are watching their sporting and financial foundations crumble.

"Our discussions have made clear clubs are often unable to publicly speak up against a system where the threat of sanctions is used to stifle opposition.

"Our dialogue has been honest, direct, and fruitful. There are clear conclusions about the need for change and the building blocks of how to achieve it."

The 10-point manifesto covers issues including player health and investment in women's football, but the competition that is currently thought to have only three clubs openly supporting its development – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – also makes it clear this should be a mass-participation event.

The original plans, revealed in April 2021, involved just 12 top clubs, with most backing out immediately after a wave of anger from across the game. Six were from England, three from Spain and three from Italy. It was feared it would be closed to others.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain were among clubs that declined to become involved in the project.

Fears have been expressed that such a competition would be harmful to existing domestic leagues.

The new manifesto states: "A European football league should be an open, multi-divisional competition with 60 to 80 teams, allowing for sustainable distribution of revenues across the pyramid.

"Participation should be based on annual sporting merit and there should be no permanent members."

It adds: "Participating clubs should remain fully committed to domestic tournaments as they are today.

"At the same time, the critical need to strengthen and make more competitive domestic tournaments across the continent must be addressed.

"European competitions should play a pivotal role in helping to achieve this goal by generating and allocating additional resources throughout the system."

With clubs' finances coming under scrutiny, the A22 statement adds: "Financial sustainability rules should allow clubs to only spend a fixed percentage of their annual football-related revenue on player salaries and net transfers with appropriate provisions for smaller clubs and transition rules."

European Super League bosses last month succeeded in restoring an injunction preventing UEFA and FIFA from punishing clubs wishing to be involved in the controversial project.

The European Union's Court of Justice (CJEU) is due to rule in the coming months on whether the long-standing European and world governing bodies would be entitled to freeze out a European Super League and its competing teams.

World Cup winner Emiliano Martinez faces competition from Thibaut Courtois and Yassine Bounou to land The Best FIFA Men's Goalkeeper Award.

Five goalkeepers were originally nominated for the award, which recognises the most outstanding goalkeeping performance in men's football during the period between August 8, 2021 and December 18, 2022, when Martinez helped Argentina win the World Cup for a third time.

Brazil's Premier League duo Alisson and Ederson missed out on the final shortlist following a vote held among the coaches and captains of international teams, as well as journalists and fans.

Martinez's immense contribution to Argentina's World Cup final win against France put him among the frontrunners for the prize, which will be handed out at a FIFA award ceremony in Paris later this month.

The 30-year-old made a crucial save to deny Randal Kolo Muani an extra-time winner in an epic 3-3 draw, before keeping Kingsley Coman's spot-kick out as Argentina won a penalty shoot-out.

Bounou also impressed in Qatar, helping Morocco become the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals and matching Martinez's tournament-high tally of three clean sheets.

Courtois, meanwhile, made his biggest impact in the club game, helping Real Madrid win a Champions League and LaLiga double last term.

The Belgium international made 59 saves and kept five clean sheets during Los Blancos' successful Champions League run, recording an impressive save percentage of 80.56 per cent across his 13 appearances as they captured their 14th European crown.

Courtois made nine saves in the final as Madrid saw off Liverpool 1-0 in Paris.

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