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Men’s football Fifa chief calls for ‘solidarity’ over plans to reform international football

THE sport’s elite must “show solidarity” to the wider global game over plans to reform international football, Fifa president Gianni Infantino has said today.

Proposals put forward by Fifa official Arsene Wenger to reform the men’s international calendar, including the introduction of biennial World Cups, have been heavily criticised in Europe.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has said that European nations could boycott the tournament if the proposals are accepted, while the European Club Association and the European Leagues group are also opposed to the plans.

It is easy to see why Fifa are pushing the issue, however: switching to World Cups every two years would increase revenues by $4.4 billion (£3.3bn) across a four-year cycle, it has said.

Infantino has previously said that the plans would generate a £2.65bn “solidarity scheme” to support football in less developed nations.

In his new year message, Infantino claimed with just a little hubris: “Fifa is the only governing body that looks after and cares about the entire world.

“We will continue working hard to live up to the mission of not forgetting the ones who need most and who have no voice, while also protecting the healthy growth of everyone else and the global football movement.”

He continued: “We count on the vast majority who are looking forward to new exciting opportunities to dream, to develop the game, to feel truly part of the global football community.

“And we count also on those at the top to show solidarity — without which, even football at its most elite would not exist. …

“We will work together for unity and the ultimate benefit of everyone.”

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