UEFA prepares to fight Infantino’s Club World Cup plan

first_img0Shares0000FIFA president Gianni Infantino handed Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo the Club World Cup trophy Abu Dhabi in December, but wants such encounters to be once every four years. © AFP/File / KARIM SAHIBLAUSANNE, Switzerland, May 15 – A united response to FIFA’s plans to enlarge the Club World Cup to 24 teams will be the subject of debate on Wednesday at a meeting of football power brokers organised by UEFA.Ahead of the Europa League final in Lyon, the governing body of European football is holding a meeting of its “Council of UEFA” and FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s plans are the main topic on the agenda. Many of those participating have already expressed hostility to the plan.The council, chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, brings together the European Club Association (ECA), the recently renamed European Leagues (EPFL) and the players’ union (FifPro).Infantino is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format. At the moment it is played every year.At the same time, he hopes to launch a biennial league tournament for nations, the Global Nations League.Infantino says he has an offer of $25 billion over 12 years for the two competitions from a group of investors, which the Financial Times has identified as SoftBank from Japan and the governments of China and Saudi Arabia.That is allowing FIFA to dangle enormous amounts of cash in front of the biggest clubs.For the club competition alone the consortium “guarantees minimum revenues of $12 billion for the four editions from 2021 to 2033”, according to a document, which AFP has read, that FIFA presented to seven big European clubs including European Champions Real Madrid, Spanish champions Barcelona and German champions Bayern Munich.According to the document, 12 of the 24 teams in the competition would be European, four or five from South America, two each from the rest of the Americas, Asia and Africa, leaving the Oceania to battle for the last place with a South American team.The winners of the four previous Champions Leagues would be guaranteed places.The European participants could make between $50 million and $80 million each.Already some clubs have voiced their support.Barcelona’s board of directors said the tournament would be “exciting, dynamic, inclusive and prestigious.”They added that it would “create a global platform for clubs to contribute to the growth of their brands.”Emilio Butragueno, Real Madrid’s head of public relations, told his club’s TV station: “We think that for fans it could be a very interesting competition.”— 60-day deadline —Infantino says he needs agreement soon because the consortium gave FIFA a 60-day deadline and after that the money will vanish and hopes to get approval at the FIFA conference in Moscow in June ahead of the World Cup.Ceferin is not happy.“FIFA should not be meeting with only seven federations or clubs and discussing with them things that concern all of European football,” he said in a recent interview.“I know that at least three of the seven clubs don’t agree with the path that FIFA wants to take.”“They have invited only the clubs,” the Slovene said on Friday. “So they think only they count.”Infantino insists that the new format will reduce the number of games the “great players” would play in each four-year cycle, but the leagues are sceptical and object to cramming new competitions into the football calendars.“FIFA itself has highlighted the international match calendar’s congestion and lack of rest periods for players most in demand,” Premier League chief executive Richard Scumadore told“To be presented with FIFA’s ‘solution’ as a fait accompli and claim this to be consultation defies all definitions of best practice and good governance,” Scudamore told The Times in London.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Harambee Stars depart for 16hr trip to Cairo

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi with his assistant Zedekiah Otieno (left) and goalkeeper trainer Lawrence Webo (right) before the team departed to Cairo, Egypt on November 10, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – National football team Harambee Stars left Nairobi on Sunday night for a 16hr, 30 minutes trip to Cairo ahead of their first 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Pharaohs on Thursday at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.Head coach Francis Kimanzi led a small group of players, mostly composed of local based players in leaving the capital, but he was distraught at the long trip the team has to endure before getting to Alexandria. “We have to take it as it has happened. We think it’s crazy, but we don’t have a choice. If you have 15-30hrs of return travel when you should be doing around 10, it’s a bit crazy. But if the ministry sees it workable that way, then there’s nothing we can do,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday.Stars left via an Emirates flight for a five and a half hour journey to Dubai where they are scheduled to have another seven hour, 15 minute lay over before taking a connecting flight to Cairo at noon, with an estimated flight time of two hours and 15 minutes.After arriving in Cairo, the team is still set to travel to the City of Alexandria which is a two and a half hour trip away from the capital, but there is an option for a short flight.Stars are still expected to travel back home using the same route after the game on Friday and will be getting back home Saturday afternoon with the second qualifier against Togo lurking on Monday.Kimanzi is afraid that the effects of fatigue due to the long hours of travel might curtail his team’s efforts, but says nothing will deter their spirit to start the quest to a second consecutive AFCON appearance on a high.The team started training last Thursday with the group of local based players joined by the Sweden based trio of Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, Eric Johannah and defender Joseph Okumu. On Sunday night for the departure, they were joined by Nkana defender Harun Shakava.The rest of the foreign based players led by skipper Victor Wanyama are expected to link up with the team in Alexandria. Wanyama left London for Cairo on Sunday night as well.Kimanzi says his team is ready for the fight that awaits them in Egypt with the squad led by Liverpool forward Mo Salah thirsty to make up for their poor performance at this year’s AFCON on home soil.Harambee Stars players at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before the team departed to Cairo, Egypt on November 10, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“We have had some good few days of training though with a small squad. I appreciate the local sides who agreed to give us their players for a few days and then also we were joined by those from Scandinavia. It is a good start and of course we will have a few more in Egypt,” the coach noted.He says they are ready for the challenge against Egypt, and notes getting a good result away from home will be a brilliant way to get the campaign going. Also, with back to back qualifiers spaced four days in between, the tactician wants to have at least one win.“It is the first game and we can’t panic because we know we can do it. It is all about the character we put on the pitch. All of us have to back to back games and it depends on who is luckier. If we are lucky over the two matches, we could go to the break with at least an edge,” he stated.Kimanzi will have a squad of 25 players in Egypt and he will have an opportunity of further whittling down his squad after using the last two friendlies to try get his definite team.“We are still checking some players and when you have back to back games, it is important to have a huge squad because between now and Monday next week, a lot can change,” stated the tactician.Stars are expected to have their first training session in Alexandria on Tuesday, two days before the cracker.0Shares0000(Visited 297 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter A host of agency owners

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterA host of agency owners and managers have congregated in the thriving metropolis of Shanghai for Express Travel Group’s ninth annual Independent Travel Group and italktravel Forum, with major sponsors Cathay Pacific, Expedia, Wendy Wu Tours and The Travel Corporation providing members with a weekend to remember.The Travel Corporation with Express Travel Group CEO Tom Manwaring [blue pocket square]Adam Schwab, Luxury Escapes; Tom Manwaring; Michelle Black, Viking Cruises.CEO Tom Manwaring opened proceedings with an update on the growth and success of Express Travel Group over the last 12 months. With the addition of 32 new members to the group, it has also seen an increase in passenger numbers and airline revenue of 11% as well as double-digit TTV growth across hotels, cruise and touring.The consistent underlying message from presenters across the conference was of the importance of adaptation to change and the investment in technology to remain at the forefront of the industry. Manwaring pointed out that even with the developments in technology (AI and now AAI), technology will never replace people.“Computers can’t be intuitive, they can know everything about me, expect what I’m going to do next,” he said, “And that is why travel agents are here to stay.”Preferred Supplier Product Marketplace.General Managers Sales & Marketing, Jonathan Nelson, took to the stage to share some big news around the groups new online merchant system, Express Pay. “This is an industry first and exclusive to Express Travel Group. We are the only group to provide members with an ACS-approved online merchant payment system,” Nelson said.Agency Support Centre Manager, Alisha Dopper, then announced the launch of the new Express Rewards loyalty program ‘Elevate’ as well as the revamp of the extensive new Express Academy program, which shows ETG’s ongoing commitment to advanced training methods for members.Saturday night’s much-anticipated gala awards night recognised the ‘best of the best’, with italktravel & cruise Reservoir (Victoria) awarded Agency of the Year for italktravel.italktravel Agent of the Year: italktravel Reservoir: Jan Gott, Hamish McCraken, Express Travel Group’s Jonathan Nelson and Paul Pearman.Bicton Travel (Western Australia) was awarded Agency of the Year for ITG.Independent Travel Group Agency of the Year: Bicton Travel – Jonathan Nelson, Express Travel Group; Dale Wynne and Phil Smethurst and Tom Manwaring, Express Travel GroupThe evening was capped off with the announcement of next year’s new conference format and the bringing together of all ETG brands (Select Travel Group, Independent Travel Group and italktravel) for one annual bigger-and-better conference to be held in Bangkok from 15–18 August 2019.Rosalie Stott, Inflight Travel; Mark Twain, Complex Travel Group and Daniel James, Express Travel Groupitalktravel Maitland, Rutherford & The Junction : Jaclyn Wright, Mark & Julia van Huisstede and Karen JonesNicola Rowlingson, Above & Beyond Travel; Pete Balmer, Cruise & Coach World; John Layton, italktravel & Cruise Bribie Island and Radka Wilson, FlightsuitLead image: itravel GroupGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more