(WFI) Gianni Infantino speaks with reporters at Concacaf Congress (Getty Images)Infantino was asked by Around the Rings in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he attended the CONCACAF Congress, about the possibility of modifying the current regulations that allow three over-age players in the under-23 national teams competing in the men’s Olympic soccer tournament.
“For Tokyo 2020, there will be no change,” said the FIFA leader, though he added “I think we have to ask ourselves what the best solution is for the future of football in the Olympic Games.”
“So far, what we have is not [the best], but it is the best there is today.”
During the previous presidency, Sepp Blatter proposed to abolish the rule of the three players without age restrictions and limit the Olympic tournament to players under 21, an initiative that quickly found support from UEFA. But the IOC was against it and the change was rejected by FIFA.
It was not clear in his statements what would be “the best solution” for Infantino.
ATR also asked about the position of the European Club Association, which reiterated its opposition to the new format of the Club World Cup in its meeting in Amsterdam earlier this week. The FIFA Council approved the changes earlier this month in Miami, with the revamped tourney to debut in the summer of 2021.
“We respect the opinions … we already knew them, but we also have the responsibility in FIFA to make decisions,” he answered.
“Of course, to create that tournament, we talk to everyone. I am very optimistic that in the end a World Cup will attract the best clubs in the world, it will be a world party even for Europe,” said Infantino.
Infantino addresses the Concacaf Congress (Getty Images)In his meeting with the media at the end of the Concacaf Congress, Infantino did not rule out that the Club World Cup could be held in the Americas.
The Swiss supports more competitions involving both South America and North and Central America “that make everyone grow”.
“I am in favor of seeing how solutions could be found,” he said.
In recent weeks, a proposal for a joint Copa América between CONMEBOL and Concacaf for 2020, based in the United States, occupied media attention although it did not seem to find a favorable response in South America.
“The global future is to be more open and not closed in our regions,” he said.
He reiterated his expectations for the 2026 World Cup co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, saying it should aid in the development of football in those countries and in the region in general.
“It will be a world of superlatives,” he said.
Infantino announced that the Women’s World Cup in Paris, in June, which he calculates will be seen by a billion people, “will mark a change” in the perception of women’s soccer.
Infantino maintained his hope that Qatar could enlist 48 teams for the 2022 World Cup, but that other countries in the region need to host matches.
“The plan so far continues with 32,” he clarified.
He said that if Qatar had 48 teams, Concacaf would have six places with another available through a playoff.
“It’s not easy but we’re working on that,” he said.
“It would also be an example of a region like the Arabian Gulf to show the world how something spectacular can be jointly organized,” the FIFA president said.
Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez in Las Vegas.