Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has slammed Gianni Infantino’s plans to reformat the World Cup and the World Club Cup.
The world football governing body’s president plans to increase the number of teams in the 2026 World Cup to 48. The tournament is set to be hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico. It will be the first time 48 teams will participate in the tournament–a massive deviation from the 32-team format of previous editions.
In addition to increasing at the World Cup, Inflation also announced that he plans to launch a new 32-team World Club Cup in 2025. The 52-year-old, in his words, is looking for a more extensive and more inclusive World Cup beyond European and South American teams.
However, his new plans have been met with much criticism, including by former boss Blatter, who complained about the over-commercialisation of football.
In an interview with German weekly De Zit via Sportsmail, Blatter accused FIFA of encroaching on club football.
“What is happening at the moment is an over-commercialisation of the game.’ Blatter said. ‘There are attempts to squeeze more and more out of the lemon — for example, with the World Cup finals with 48 teams or now with a Club World Cup that must be viewed as direct competition to the Champions League.
“FIFA is encroaching here on something that is actually none of its business, club soccer.”
Blatter, who was forced to retire as FIFA president early in 2015 following accusations of corruption in the governing body, also denied claims he was guilty.
The 86-year-old said: “I have never taken money that I didn’t earn — that’s why nothing on me could ever be proven in all the proceedings against me. And that will remain the case.’
Blatter also stated that although he didn’t prevent the sport from everything, he always tried to serve.
“We didn’t manage to protect soccer from economic and political influence”. He said in the interview.
“I really tried always to serve soccer. If in doing so I damaged it, then I am sorry.”