Former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter says incumbent Gianni Infantino "is not a good president" and has criticised his successor for his decision to live in Qatar ahead of the 2202 World Cup.

Football's world governing body confirmed on Thursday that Infantino has moved from Zurich to Doha on a temporary basis to oversee the build-up to the World Cup in December.

Blatter called that decision "incomprehensible" and "outrageous" on French radio on Thursday.

"He is not a good president, and I must say it. He is not doing his job properly," Zurich told Europe 1 Sport.

"I would never have thought of going to live in the capital where we play the World Cup.

"The place of the president of FIFA is the place where FIFA has its headquarters, in Zurich."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has suggested the European Championship would follow suit and become a biennial event should the proposed World Cup plans succeed.

Led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, FIFA has been promoting the idea for the World Cup to shift format and take place every two years - an idea strongly opposed by both UEFA and CONMEBOL.

FIFA claimed to its member associations at their global summit in December that the alterations would make football $4.4billion richer over the initial four-year cycle.

Infantino, faced with strong opposition in Europe and South America, has now added further fuel to the fire by suggesting the Euros would happen more often if the biennial World Cup plans come to fruition.

Asked by Italian outlet Radio Anch'io what would happen to European football's premier international tournament in the wake of the World Cup proposals, Infantino responded: "The Euros would also take place every two years.

"In Europe, there is resistance because there is a World Cup every week with the leagues and the best players in the world, but that isn't the case for the rest of the world: It's a month a year, and we need to find a way to truly include the whole world in football."

Last month, UEFA published a contrasting independent survey that called the suggested changes "alarming" just hours before FIFA released a study that reported there is a "majority" in favour of a World Cup every two years.

Infantino again claimed that FIFA's prior findings suggested the change would be both feasible and accepted.

He added: "The presumptions are clear: 88 per cent of countries, including the majority of those in Europe, have asked for the study and the study tells us that from a sporting point of view, a World Cup every two years would work. 

"There would be fewer international matches but with a greater impact."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also part of a growing list of opposition, which includes Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski, fearing the impact of the changes on the world's sporting calendar.

Gianni Infantino believes FIFA currently has majority support among national associations for its plans to stage World Cup tournaments every two years.

The FIFA president gave that verdict at the world governing body's global summit on Monday, where FIFA-commissioned studies said the game would receive a significant financial boost if the plans are approved.

The overall boost would amount to $4.4billion in the first four-year cycle of a new international calendar, it was claimed, and that would climb to $6.6billion if each confederation also switches its regional competition to become biennial.

Currently, the men's and women's World Cups take place every four years, but dramatic change could be coming.

"Not only is it feasible from a sporting point of view, but the economic return is very strong," said Infantino, "meaning more money can be invested, re-invested, into football development all over the world.

"This is quite an important project to bridge the gap between those who have and those who don't have. At the end of the day, everyone will benefit. Everyone will have additional possibilities to play and additional revenue as well."

The powerful European and South American confederations, UEFA and CONMEBOL, have refused to support FIFA's plans, but there is support from within Asia, Africa and the CONCACAF region that covers North and Central America, plus the Caribbean.

FIFA issued studies that showed solidarity funding for each of its 211 national associations rise from $6million to "potentially" $25million for the first four-year cycle of an era of biennial World Cups.

Such a rise holds clear appeal to many associations, given its potential to be transformative, and Infantino said in a news conference: "If I was going to a vote tomorrow, probably the majority would vote in favour of World Cups every two years."

He has declined to say when such a vote might take place, at this stage.

FIFA's plans have been driven in part by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now the head of global development and Infantino's right-hand man on this matter.

Wenger said there was "fear" within the football establishment about the proposals and called for that to be banished.

"We face opposition," said Wenger, "but what I regret is that 90 per cent of this opposition is emotional and not facts and not analysis. And we have to get over this fear because most of the emotions we face are based on fears: fear to lose control of your own competition. There is a demand from the young fans; there is a demand in society for meaningful events.

"If we don't create them, another sport will create them. We have an opportunity to give countries an opportunity to improve, and I think it's worth it to fight for it. It is 211 countries that make that decision. We will accept that decision."

Infantino, sharing the stage with Wenger, also said he had encountered "a lot of opposition" but spoke too of "a lot of voices in favour".

"FIFA is a global organising body and for this reason we have to combine these points of view," the FIFA president said.

Europe's big-money leagues have expressed strong opposition to the prospect of international football becoming a bigger presence on the calendar, with concerns for player burnout being raised by a number of top managers.

Infantino made a curious attempt to allay fears the Olympics might be affected by pointing to there being Olympic Games every two years already – winter and summer editions.

Of those, the summer Olympics secures by far the biggest audiences, and the prospect of any clash with international football for that multisport showcase would be unwelcome.

Infantino stressed that FIFA is confident the appeal of the World Cup would stand up, even if the tournament comes around more often in future. The men's tournament has been staged every four years since 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War.

The FIFA chief said: "The prestige of a competition like the World Cup will not be undermined by playing more frequently."

African nations threw their support behind FIFA's proposal for a biennial World Cup as Gianni Infantino claimed elite-level opponents of the plan are objecting out of fear.

FIFA president Infantino made a personal appearance at African federation CAF's extraordinary general assembly in Cairo on Friday, along with Arsene Wenger.

Former Arsenal boss Wenger is the head of global development at FIFA, with the world governing body employing the Frenchman as a figurehead for the World Cup overhaul.

It is far from a fait accompli that FIFA will get its way – UEFA and CONMEBOL are firmly against the switch – but CAF members overwhelmingly backed the plan, having been told by Infantino that it provided a route towards more opportunities on the world stage.

"Obviously as well, it's natural and understandable, those who are against it are those at the top," Infantino told CAF members.

"It happens in every sector of life when there are reforms and changes; those who are at the top, they don't want anything to change because they are at the top, and they are afraid maybe that if something changes, their leadership position is at risk.

"We understand that, and we compliment and applaud them for having been so successful in reaching the top. This is fantastic, and they are an example for everyone.

"But at the same time, we cannot close the door, we need to keep the door open, we need to give hope, and we need to give opportunities to the entire world.

"We need to give more opportunities to all the teams to play with each other - will it be with the World Cup or will it be in another way? We have to study of course all of this.

"We continue to consult, we continue to speak, we thank you for your views and your input."

Infantino has been telling African nations of the prospect for development long before FIFA put forward its World Cup proposal, and it is clear he has strong support on the continent.

Wenger gave a presentation in which he expressed his belief that biennial World Cups for men's and women's football and also spoke of the prospect of more chances to compete for African nations.

"I only defend the project because it is to make football better and more competitive," Wenger said.

A resolution was announced during the general assembly, in which it was stated: "CAF welcomes the FIFA congress decision to conduct the feasibility study on having men's and women's World Cup every two years.

"If the FIFA study concludes that it is feasible, CAF will fully support hosting the men's and women's World Cup every two years."

CAF president Patrice Motsepe conducted a show of hands and, with no objections to the resolution, declared it a unanimous vote in favour of backing FIFA.

Gianni Infantino hinted FIFA is prepared to dial back on plans for a biennial World Cup and says hosting its premier international tournament in a single nation is a "thing of the past".

FIFA, led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, had been promoting the idea to change the World Cup format and proposed the tournament takes place every two years.

Wenger's proposal would see a major tournament held every year, however, UEFA and CONMEBOL quickly retaliated, vocally opposing the plans and expressing scheduling concerns.

Speaking after a FIFA council meeting, president Infantino announced he would convene with football's governing bodies on December 20 to debate any potential football calendar reforms once again.

However, Infantino refused to commit to holding a vote on any of the proposals as he suggested the divisive plan would have to benefit all stakeholders.

"We have to see how we can approach the different opinions of different parties," Infantino told reporters on Wednesday. 

"We need to look at sporting and economic merits, then we can have a reasoned discussion about World Cups and perhaps other competitions. 

"I do not know what the outcome will be. We will continue with the objective of reaching a consensus with solutions that work for everyone's benefit. 

"By hosting a global summit later this year, we will now have the opportunity to present one plan and to provide feedback to all our FIFA member associations."

The 2026 World Cup is set to be hosted by Mexico, Canada and the United States, and Infantino also revealed his preference for multi-nation bids hosted by a continent, as opposed to a single country.

When asked about the possibility of South Americans co-hosting the 2030 edition, Infantino responded: "The World Cup is the biggest competition, the biggest event on earth, and several countries would like to organise a World Cup. 

"I myself as FIFA President am very interested to hear the continent is interested in hosting the World Cup, there is so much passion in South America for football. Everybody would like to see a new World Cup in South America.

"You mentioned Brazil, and I think that World Cups held in one single country are probably a thing of the past.

"I think probably we'll see more World Cups held by two or three different countries. If we do so, every region in the world can not only dream, but really plan to organise a World Cup."

The Club World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates in early 2022, FIFA has confirmed.

The annual tournament featuring the champions of six global confederations, along with the hosts' national champions, was originally scheduled for Japan in 2021.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) were preparing to stage the competition for the first time in five years, but a rise in coronavirus cases in the country led to questions as to whether hosting would be profitable.

The JFA subsequently pulled out following discussions with FIFA in September, with president Gianni Infantino announcing on Wednesday that the UAE - who have staged the tournament four times before - will instead play host to the tournament.

The exact dates of the rearranged Club World Cup are still to be announced, though FIFA indicated the competition will be staged in 2022, with Champions League winners Chelsea set to feature.

Thomas Tuchel's Blues will face Egyptian side Al Ahly and New Zealand's Auckland City, who are part of a 10-team roster for FIFA's showpiece club event.

FIFA, in 2020, had already selected Japan as host for the seven-club event after an expanded 24-team tournament - originally scheduled for China in June 2021 - was delayed due to coronavirus issues.

UEFA's chief of football Zvonimir Boban said those in the game must fight FIFA's proposal to stage the World Cup every two years because if it succeeds it would "hurt everybody." 

FIFA held an online summit last month to discuss moving World Cups from occurring every four years to every two, which has already been met by strong opposition within UEFA.

Former Milan and Croatia star Boban said the idea was "even worse than the Super League," which was foiled earlier this year by wide-ranging public backlash from fans and European clubs.

"Every normal person who understand and respect football, cannot accept the biennial World Cup idea," Boban said via Gazzetta dello Sport. "You would cancel 100 years of history of the World Cup, the best competition in the world.

"Football cannot be revolutionised unilaterally without a good consultation with all the parts involved and ordering other institutions to do other things: UEFA must organise Euro every two years, domestic league must cut the number of teams, this and that.

"The most absurd thing, even if probably clubs don’t realise it yet, is the two windows for international breaks. Three games in a row and a player is dead. Two games you can recover, three not. Travels don’t hurt footballers, too many games in a row do."

While several UEFA officials have spoken out against the plan, Boban's opposition is notable given his ties to FIFA president Gianni Infantino. 

Boban worked as FIFA's Deputy Secretary-General from 2016 to 2019. 

"It is such an absurdity that I could never imagine that could come from a president I still love after working with him for three years or from a football person like [Arsene] Wenger," he said. "This is idea is so crazy that we really have to fight against it because it would hurt everybody."

Boban said UEFA would never propose holding the Euros every two years, "even if it meant more money". 

"It would be bad for players, leagues, clubs as well as for the appeal of competitions," he added. "It does not respect anybody. It would destroy football's institutions together with the footballing pyramid that was built thanks to decades of work."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has urged the Premier League and La Liga to release its players in a "show of solidarity" for the upcoming international break.

Starting after this weekend's matches, the break will run for two weeks and see the resumption of qualifiers for next year's World Cup in Qatar.

Due to strict rules that would require players to quarantine for 10 days upon their return – and no exemption granted by the government – the Premier League has refused to release nearly 60 players travelling to 26 countries on the United Kingdom's red list.

Countries on that list for travel to and from the UK require arrivals to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon their return, regardless of vaccination status.

With the English top flight set to resume on September 11, this would mean returning players could miss up to three games should their club also be involved in European competition.

LaLiga subsequently followed suit by refusing to release 25 players from 13 different clubs for qualifiers to be played in South America.

However, Infantino, who said he has written to UK prime minister Boris Johnson for support, has encouraged both leagues to reconsider their actions and "preserve and protect sporting integrity".

"I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game," he said.

"Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.

"I have suggested that an approach similar to that adopted by the UK government for the final stages of the Euro 2020 (hosted at Wembley) be implemented for the upcoming international matches."

FIFA has been awarded with $201million as compensation for the criminal activities of former officials.

In 2015, world football's governing body was raided by Swiss authorities on behalf of the United States Department of Justice, with Sepp Blatter among over 40 officials charged.

On Tuesday, FIFA confirmed the Department of Justice had awarded a $201m compensation package to the FIFA Foundation. 

This sum – seized from the bank accounts of the officials who were prosecuted – covers the losses suffered by FIFA, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL as "victims of decades of football corruption schemes".

FIFA confirmed the money will go into a newly formed World Football Remission Fund, established to help finance football-related projects.

"I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place," said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

"I want to sincerely thank the US Justice authorities for their efforts in this respect, for their fast and effective approach in bringing these matters to a conclusion, and also for their trust in general. The truth is that, thanks to their intervention back in 2015, we have been able to fundamentally change FIFA from a toxic organisation at the time, to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body.

"Thankfully, we are well past that unfortunate period in history now and it's great to see significant funding being put at the disposal of the FIFA Foundation, which can positively impact so many people across the football world, especially through youth and community programmes."

In a separate statement, South American federation CONMEBOL confirmed it would receive $71m of the package.

CONMEBOL stated it would use these funds for youth camps, education, refereeing and coaching courses, community outreach and women's football.

Gianni Infantino has denied FIFA colluded with clubs on the controversial Super League but stopped short of saying there had been no talks about the project.

The president of world football's governing body spoke out on Friday after the FIFA congress, describing the Super League attempted breakaway as "a rupture" in the game.

Asked whether FIFA had any involvement in the Super League planning or if it had offered support, Infantino gave a nine-minute response in which he said it was his job to always listen to anybody in the game considering a new format.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently accused Infantino of encouraging the Super League, but the FIFA chief rebutted that claim.

"Let me tell you that when we are analysing these questions, we should look at the facts and not rumours or corridor gossip, especially not coming from certain parts," Infantino said.

The proposed new competition was announced and quashed in the space of around 48 hours in April, a breath-taking episode that saw players, coaches, supporter groups, national associations, politicians and even royalty express dismay at the closed-door concept.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham announced they would be taking part, as did Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid from LaLiga, and Serie A giants Juventus, Milan and Inter also signed up. The project, a major threat to the UEFA Champions League, collapsed dramatically, but there are some who expect it to be revived.

"I know many clubs," Infantino told reporters in a conference call. "I speak with clubs for many years, since my days at UEFA, and when speaking to European clubs the Super League topic always is a topic for discussion.

"Everyone in football knows that, so let's not play games here. Everyone in football knows for years clubs have been studying and preparing for this or similar projects.

"In the 16 years I was in UEFA we always managed that, and I can tell you there were projects that were far more advanced than the one we have seen recently.

"At FIFA it is also my responsibility and our responsibility to discuss with football stakeholders. Now to listen to some clubs and to speak with some clubs doesn't certainly mean in any way whatsoever that FIFA was behind, was colluding, was plotting or I don't know what words you used for any Super League project."

Infantino pointed to a FIFA statement issued in January that said a breakaway competition would not be recognised by the world body.

"In that moment, the rupture was of course becoming inevitable and the rupture is never good, it's not good for anyone," Infantino said on Friday. "No war is good – never. We are ready to defend football from projects we know are wrong."

He added: "I don't close the doors to any discussion with anyone – never – about new formats, new ideas, new competitions. I'm ready to listen to everyone.

"This is my job ... the way I live the presidency of FIFA.

"I'm aware some people prefer to spin these discussions in a different way and I can understand that attacking me or FIFA is a good way to divert the attention from real problems that have never been addressed in the last years."

Infantino did not specify his target for that remark, but said: "I hope that as of today we can move to the real issues that football is facing."

Gerard Pique became the first Barcelona or Real Madrid player to openly criticise the attempted formation of a European Super League.

Twelve major European clubs came together to confirm the creation of a closed-shop competition on Sunday, but within 48 hours it has been left in ruins.

Manchester City became the first club to withdraw on Tuesday and Chelsea were also reported to have begun such proceedings at a similar time, though an official statement is not expected until Wednesday.

The four remaining English teams, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United – who earlier on Tuesday confirmed club chief Ed Woodward has resigned in an apparently unrelated move – then released simultaneous statements announcing their disassociation with the breakaway.

None of Milan, Inter, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Madrid nor Barca have addressed the situation in public since the English clubs began to set their mass-withdrawal in motion.

But the cracks have started to appear, with Barca great Pique seemingly becoming the first player from the Spanish clubs to denounce the proposals that have been left in tatters.

Around the same time that Arsenal, Liverpool, United and Spurs confirmed their exits, Pique tweeted: "Football belongs to the fans. Today more than ever."

Madrid president Florentino Perez was expected to appear on Spanish radio on Tuesday but ultimately failed to show.

With half of the 12 founder members pulling out, the next move of the remaining six is yet to be revealed.

However, it looks like a troubling period awaits Madrid, with Perez openly admitting on Monday that the club needed the money from the Super League due to their financial difficulties.

Pique's Barca also have issues, with their debts confirmed earlier this year to be in excess of €1billion.

"Profit-driven" projects like the European Super League threaten the existing structure and mission of sport, according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach.

Bach appeared at the UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland on Tuesday.

The furore caused by 12 of Europe's leading clubs announcing a breakaway competition that would see them leave existing structures in place under UEFA and FIFA continues to cause intense debate.

Bach warned that self-interest and commercialism would come at a huge cost for European sport.

He insisted such an approach was not what was needed as society rebuilds as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have to realise that this European sport model is under threat today," Bach said. 

"In fact, the very existence of the values, solidarity and volunteer-based model is under threat. 

"It is challenged by a purely profit-driven approach that ignores the intrinsic values the social mission of sport and the real needs of the post-coronavirus world. 

"It is under threat because the social mission of sports organisations is losing ground to the purely profit-oriented goals of commercial sport providers and investors. 

"If everything is only looked at from a business perspective. If only the economic rules are applied to measure the impact of sport on society then the social mission of sport is lost.

"In this polarising environment narrow self-interest and egotism have been gaining ground over solidarity, shared values and common rules. 

"We can only address the challenges of the post-coronavirus world in solidarity. This means for us solidarity within sports organisations and solidarity among sports organisations."

At the same conference, FIFA president Gianni Infantino condemned the European Super League.

Infantino warned clubs involved they "cannot be half in or half out" and must fully commit to the breakaway competition.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino condemned the European Super League as he warned clubs involved they "cannot be half in or half out" and must fully commit to the breakaway competition.

Twelve elite clubs announced on Sunday their plans to launch a tournament to rival the Champions League in which they would be assured of qualification.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, among others, would compete in the Super League every season without risk of demotion.

The news has prompted a strong reaction throughout the football world, with governing bodies, rivals clubs, players, coaches and fans critical of the idea and its anti-competitive format.

An initial FIFA statement on Sunday read: "FIFA can only express its disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures."

Infantino, FIFA president since 2016, had not subsequently discussed the Super League in public until Tuesday's UEFA Congress, however.

But he made clear in Montreux, Switzerland, that the clubs involved could not continue in their domestic leagues, as proposed, while bans from international football for players at those clubs have been threatened.

"At FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove the creation of the Super League, which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA," Infantino said.

"There is a lot to throw away for maybe a short-term financial gain of some. People need to think very carefully. They need to reflect and they need to assume responsibility.

"If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice. They are responsible for their choice.

"Concretely, this means either you are in or you are out. You cannot be half in or half out."

Gianni Infantino says FIFA must be open to revolutionising the international calendar, after Arsene Wenger proposed radical changes.

Speaking on beIN SPORTS this week, former Arsenal manager Wenger claimed more focus had to be put on FIFA's flagship competitions, including the World Cup.

The Frenchman is currently serving as FIFA's chief of global football development.

Wenger put forward a plan to host major tournaments such as the World Cup and European Championship every two years, to give more players the opportunity to play at these events during their prime years.

Such changes would mean major alterations to the calendar, but Infantino insists FIFA will rule nothing out, and decisions could be taken within the next 12 months.

"We need to be open to everyone, to everything, to every proposal, every idea," said the FIFA president.

"Arsene Wenger is not only a successful and brilliant manager, he is a professor of football but besides that we have, of course, our bodies and we will debate and discuss the calendar, starting now, because we need to come to a decision in the next few months, the sooner the better, by the end of the year or in the course of next year, for everyone to be able to plan."

The international schedule is not the only item up for debate, with Infantino also interested in a possible merger of North America's leading leagues – Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX.

MLS commissioner Don Garber commented in December that a merger was "a long way away", while FIFA has previously ruled out leagues spread across regions or continents, rather than individual countries.

However, Infantino seemingly sees things differently, as he stressed the need for other areas of the globe to challenge the quality on show in Europe.

"I think the potential in the United States and Mexico is enormous, each country by itself," he said.

"But of course if you could bring those two together that would be incredible and that could quite well be the best league in the world.

"Any discussion about organising such a competition, of course respecting the rules of member associations and FIFA and with the agreement of all stakeholders, any discussion in that respect is interesting and we see that in a positive light.

"Of course if we want club teams to be at the highest level around the world and not just in Europe, we need to have new ideas.

"We see the potential in North America, the economic potential and the potential in footballing terms. I trust them to take the best decisions in that regard."

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