It seems that not many subscribe to FIFA's master plan.
FIFA under fire after agreeing 48-team World Cup expansion
FIFA president Gianni Infantino's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams has been criticised
It was confirmed yesterday that FIFA president Gianni Infantino's idea to increase the number of participating nations at the finals from 32 to 48 had been approved by delegates in Zurich, with the plans set to be enforced from the 2026 competition onwards.
However, the European Club Association, which represents the interests of clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, has blasted the move, claiming it is motivated by political rather than sporting intentions.
A statement from the body, which represents 220 teams across the continent, said: "The European Club Association reiterates that it is in principle not in favour of an expanded World Cup.
"We fail to see the merits to changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives. Questionable is also the urgency in reaching such an important decision, with nine years to go until it becomes applicable, without the proper involvement of stakeholders who will be impacted by this change.
"We understand that this decision has been taken based on political reasons rather than sporting ones and under considerable political pressure, something ECA believes is regrettable."
And there was plenty of scepticism from others too. New FIFA Now, a campaign group founded by, among others, MP Damian Collins, that is seeking change in the way the governing body operates, claimed the plans were "a money and power grab".
"It will dilute the competitiveness of the tournament and, therefore, the enjoyment of fans," they said in a statement. It is a money grab and power grab. This is straight out of the [former FIFA presidents] Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter playbooks."
Concern was also expressed in Spain, where La Liga president Javier Tebas fumed about what he suggested was a lack of consultation between Infantino and the clubs.
"Infantino behaves like Blatter," he said. "He also made decisions alone without consulting anyone about them and I'm very angry."
The Football Association stressed FIFA must take into account the wishes of players, supporters and leagues when formalising plans for the new-look competition.
They said in a statement: "The priority has to be consideration of the potential impact on fans, players, teams and leagues and also recognition of the importance of sporting integrity and commercial viability."
Speaking before the outburst of criticism, Infantino claimed he wanted the tournament to be truly global. "We are in the 21st century and we have to shape the football World Cup of the 21st century," he said.
"It isn't any more the 20th century. It is the future, football is more than just Europe and South America, football is global. One event in the same period, once every four years, which will help develop football, the FIFA Council felt this was positive and it will help football developmen