‘UEFA-CONMEBOL links not an alliance against anyone’

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has claimed that the European governing body’s strengthened ties with its counterpart the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) is “not an alliance against anyone” at the Congress in Vienna.

Both bodies were among the most vocal critics of proposals to stage the men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups every two years, and last month opened a joint office in London.

A match between the men’s continental champions Italy and Argentina is also scheduled for June 1 at London’s Wembley Stadium, branded “the Finalissima”, and South American teams joining the UEFA Nations League has been mooted.

Čeferin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino staged a war of words over the controversial biennial World Cup proposals, with the UEFA President arguing that the plans would “lead to less legitimacy and dilute the World Cup.”

UEFA and CONMEBOL threatened to boycott the World Cup if the proposal to double the number of editions went ahead, but momentum behind the idea has stalled in recent months.

Infantino previously claimed that a World Cup every two years would still retain its “magic”, but at the FIFA Congress in March sought to distance himself from the idea, insisting that “FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup.”

At today’s UEFA Congress at the Messe Wien Exhibition and Congress Center in Austria’s capital, also attended by Infantino, Čeferin said that the organisation’s “strategic alliance” with CONMEBOL is not targeted against any other body.

That would suggest relations between UEFA and FIFA have improved with biennial World Cup plans firmly on the back burner.

The alliance aims “to celebrate more than 50 years of friendship between European and South American football”, Slovenian official Čeferin claimed.

Europe and South America are the only two continents which have provided winners of the men’s FIFA World Cup.

Former UEFA Secretary General Infantino used the Congress to again address 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar’s record on human rights.

Portugal’s capital Lisbon is due to stage next year’s UEFA Congress on April 5. -insidethegames.biz

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