The groups have been discussing the creation of a biennial world league for national teams as well as a quadrennial tournament for 24 clubs similar to the World Cup. That tournament would replace FIFA’s annual Club World Cup, but would require significant changes to the FIFA calendar and could harm the lucrative Champions League that UEFA runs.
The fund has offered to partner with FIFA on the new events for 12 years, proposing to guarantee $2 billion for each edition of the national team competition and $3 billion for each Club World Cup. Infantino sought their permission to conclude talks with the group in March, but was blocked by members of FIFA’s governing council. At the time, he said he had only a 60-day deadline to complete a deal.
That deadline has passed, and the consortium has granted an extension, but hard feelings remain over the way the offer was proposed. Infantino had hoped to persuade board members to reconsider it at an emergency meeting he planned to hold at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters next week, but he was forced to scrap those plans amid opposition from several members, including some outside Europe.
FIFA officials now say further talks will not be held until after the conclusion of the World Cup on July 15. Before the tournament, FIFA members are scheduled to vote on whether to award the 2026 World Cup to a joint bid from North America or one from Morocco.
Still, Infantino in recent weeks tried to win support for the SoftBank-led proposal from some of the world’s top clubs at a private meeting in Zurich. There, executives from seven wealthy clubs were told they could receive as much as $100 million per tournament appearance. After the meeting, executives from Barcelona and Real Madrid expressed support for the plan, while the perennial Italian champions Juventus expressed concern.
“FIFA should be a governing body about good practices, not about entering commercial joint ventures with unknown investors,” the Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli told The Guardian on Wednesday. Agnelli and Ceferin were in Kiev for a meeting of UEFA’s governing executives on Thursday, two days before Liverpool and Real Madrid are to meet here in the Champions League final.
Son is hardly a sports novice. He backed an America’s Cup yacht last year and has invested in the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks baseball team in Japan, as well as a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami in partnership with the former England captain David Beckham.