FIFA Men's World Cup
Head of European clubs says they could stage 'revolution' against FIFA
FIFA Men's World Cup

Head of European clubs says they could stage 'revolution' against FIFA

Published Jan. 22, 2017 12:12 p.m. ET

Will the European clubs revolt against FIFA? Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who is the European Club Association chairman and Bayern Munich CEO, says it very well could happen.

“The big clubs and the leagues, too, will perhaps ask themselves at some point: 'do we really need FIFA and its curious decisions, which at the end of the day only burden soccer - and do not serve soccer’,” Rummenigge said to Bild.

Rummenigge's comments came in the wake of FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 28 teams, beginning in 2026. Many figures within the European clubs expressed their opposition to the expansion, but support for expansion was unanimous within the FIFA Council.

“I'm of the same opinion as Christian Seifert, who said that we are heading for a revolution when we continue on this path,” Rummenigge continued. “In principle, I'm no friend of revolution, because they usually end with bloodshed. I fear, though, that things are inexorably heading toward a revolution.”

FIFA's current contract with the clubs to release players for international dates expires after the 2022 World Cup, so there is currently no agreement for players to play in internationals beyond that. FIFA may be the governing body for the sport around the world, but they need the clubs and will not be able to organize any international matches without their cooperation. That includes the World Cup.

The tension between FIFA and the clubs is not new, but it has been growing in recent years. With this expansion, and FIFA proposing other changes, it will be worth watching how much they include the leaders of the world's biggest clubs. If they cannot bridge the gap and make sure everyone is on board, we could be in for a nasty fight after the 2022 World Cup.


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