Keir Radnedge – AIPS Football delegate
LONDON, March 18, 2020 – World football federation FIFA has postponed next year’s inaugural expanded Club World Cup as the domino effect created in sport by the coronavirus crisis gathers pace.
Decisions by UEFA and CONMEBOL, the governing bodies of European and South American football, to push back Euro 2020 and the Copa America to the summer of next year left FIFA no option.
Today’s meeting of the FIFA bureau – president Gianni Infantino and the heads of the six regional confederations – decided to set up a study group to find a new date for the Club World Cup, schedule for China, as well as a number of other measures.
The delay may be helpful to FIFA in the long run since it had reportedly run into problems trying to raise the necessary initial funding for the 24-team tournament. It may also provide the world governing body with more time to discuss the reservations about the event held by UEFA.
A FIFA statement on latest steps said the FIFA bureau had decided:
–to include the new dates of the CONMEBOL Copa América and the UEFA EURO (11 June to 11 July 2021) in the International Match Calendar and to decide at a later stage when to schedule the new FIFA Club World Cup which was due to take place in June/July 2021;
–to create a FIFA-confederations working group, monitoring the evolving situation, working closely together and agreeing on a coordinated approach addressing the consequences of this pandemic:
*Calendar: Ensuring appropriate global solutions are eventually found for competitions at all levels considering the needs of all stakeholders while always keeping the health of all participants as a first priority;
*Transfer of players: Assessing the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players’ to protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods; and
*Potential support fund: Assessing the economic impact faced by the various football stakeholders in each continent to analyse if a support fund at global level will be required and how in that case concrete support mechanisms should be defined
–To donate $10m to the World Health Organisation COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and working together with the WHO to ensure these funds are used to support the fight against the virus in all regions of the world.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “This exceptional situation requires exceptional measures and decisions.
“This crisis impacts the entire world and that is why solutions need to take into account the interests of all stakeholders around the world.
“We have shown again today a spirit of cooperation, solidarity and unity. These must be our key drivers moving forward . . . FIFA will keep in close contact with all stakeholders to assess and take the necessary steps to deal with the variety of issues we are facing.”