Football: European clubs object to World Cup's expansion to 40 teams

ECA vice-president Umberto Gandini.
ECA vice-president Umberto Gandini. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - The European Club Association (ECA) insisted on Tuesday that extending the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams would put too much burden on clubs and inflict physical overload on players.

"We are satisfied with the balance of interest and any change would need very careful review," insisted ECA vice-president Umberto Gandini.

The AC Milan director was speaking at the end of a two-day working session in Paris with a bouquet of subjects on the club lobby group's agenda, chiefly aimed at combating Fifa reforms to the World Cup.

The ECA said "the burden on players has become too much" and described the new proposal by Fifa presidential candidate Gianni Infantino as leading to physical overload.

"The clubs acknowledge the importance of national teams to the federations but we have a responsibility to the players," Gandini explained.

He revealed that Infantino had presented his manifesto to them on Tuesday and that the Swiss intended to extend the World Cup to 40 teams by 2026 if elected.