LaLiga frustrated by FIFA plans for new club tournament and four-team World Cup groups

By Sports Desk March 15, 2023

LaLiga has spoken out against FIFA over plans to reshape the structure of the 2026 World Cup into four-team groups.

Football's governing body had originally intended to have 16 groups of three teams after expanding from 32 to 48 nations for the tournament jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

However, following the Qatar 2022 edition, plans to maintain the current four-team system resurfaced and have now been rubber-stamped at FIFA's annual congress.

The decision has enraged LaLiga however, with the competition set to expand to 104 games from 64.

LaLiga has also objected to plans for a new international club tournament, which will join an expanded Club World Cup on the football calendar. The latter is due to take place every four years starting from 2025, but an as-yet-unnamed additional event is set to take place annually alongside it.

"Following the announcements made today at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, LaLiga states that FIFA continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar," read a statement.

"[FIFA is] showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general. FIFA completely neglects the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world.

"Leagues were not consulted about any of the changes presented, especially about the new annual club competition, of which we were completely unaware, and which seriously affects our competitions.

"These decisions do not take into account the competitive, sporting and economic impact on national leagues, clubs and players, by further cramming an already overloaded schedule.

"LaLiga and other leagues represented in the World Leagues Forum will analyse FIFA's decisions and decide on the most appropriate next steps."

Under the three-team World Cup group structure, all nations would have played two games before the top pair from each group would have proceeded to a round-of-32.

Now however, the eight best-ranked third-place sides from 12 groups will also be included in the mix, with the revised format ensuring every side plays at least three games.

It also means those who reach the final will play eight games, including the showpiece match itself, one more than teams who reach the end of the tournament currently partake in.

Related items

  • Foden has 'cemented himself as one of Man City's greats', says Ferdinand Foden has 'cemented himself as one of Man City's greats', says Ferdinand

    Phil Foden "cemented his place as a Manchester City great" after his two goals helped the club to a record-breaking fourth successive Premier League title, according to former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

    Pep Guardiola's side made history as they maintained their grip on the Premier League trophy following a 3-1 victory over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the season.

    Foden - recently named the division's Player of the Year - played another starring role for the Citizens with a brace, including a 25-yard thunderbolt after just 78 seconds, while Rodri's second-half strike completed the victory.

    Ferdinand, who won three consecutive Premier League titles with United between 2007 and 2009, believes the attacking midfielder has joined a pantheon of club legends as he saluted City's resilience and determination to keep on winning. 

    "It's hard to explain how difficult that is - to continually reboot and go again," the former defender told TNT Sports. "The daily pressure to get up and go every day is a relentless pursuit of elite performance.

    "You have to respect it - the individuals there are fantastic. The top players have moments where you cement yourself as one of the club's greats - I'm not going to go too early, but Foden has done that today."

    Still only 23 years old, Foden is the youngest player in history to win six Premier League titles with his home club.

    Gary Neville - an eight-time champion with United who also won three on the bounce between 1999 and 2001 - also paid tribute to the England international.

    "Phil Foden is a local hero. What a player!" he told Sky Sports. "Pep Guardiola has designed a style of football that is being copied not just around this country, but all around Europe.

    "Most of all, he is a winning machine that instils that in everybody who works with him."

  • Klopp calls on Liverpool supporters to believe after Anfield farewell Klopp calls on Liverpool supporters to believe after Anfield farewell

    Jurgen Klopp hopes his departure from Liverpool marks the start of something special, rather than an end, after imploring the Reds to keep believing in an emotional farewell.

    Liverpool manager Klopp announced back in January he would leave at the end of this campaign, signing off with a 2-0 win over Wolves at Anfield on day where the Reds celebrated their much-loved boss.

    Alexis Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah were both on target in the first half after Nelson Semedo's 28th-minute red card, though the result mattered for little in truth with the focus on Klopp's exit.

    The Anfield crowd filled up earlier than normal before kick-off to serenade their German manager, who leaves with a Premier League crown and Champions League glory to his name, and those tributes continued throughout Sunday's victory.

    Klopp was emotional on the touchline as Anfield's Kop End raised as one to laud their departing boss, who urged Liverpool to back incoming manager Arne Slot and create further history on Merseyside.

    "It doesn't feel like an end," Klopp said on the pitch, microphone in hand and addressing the packed-out Anfield. 

    "It just feels like a start. Today I saw a football team play full of talent, youth, creativity, desire, and greed. That's one part of development, that's what you need obviously.

    "In these few weeks where I have had too much attention, I realised lots of things. People say I turned them from doubters into believers. That's not true, you did it.

    "Nobody tells you to stop believing. This club is in a better moment than a long time.

    "We have this wonderful stadium, training centre and you – the superpower of world football, wow.

    "We decide if we are worried or excited. We decide if we believe. We decide if we trust or don't trust. Today I am one of you and I keep believing. I stay believing 100 per cent.

    "Obviously I saw a lot of people crying and I will tonight too because I will miss people but change is good. Everything will be fine because the basics are 100 per cent there."

    Klopp brings his nine-year tenure at Liverpool to an end as Feyenoord head coach Slot prepares to move to Anfield next term.

    Former Borussia Dortmund head coach Klopp, before starting an impromptu chant to celebrate the incoming Slot, wants Liverpool supporters to welcome their new leader with open arms.

    "Thank you," he said, before referencing his own song from the crowd. "If you sing that song next year, that would be funny.

    "You welcome the new manager like you welcomed me. You go all in from the first day, you keep believing, you push the team. I'm one of you now, I love you to bits.

    "You are the best team in the world!"

    Klopp led Liverpool to the club's highest-ever league points tally (99 in 2019-20), best-ever league winning run (18 from October 2019 to February 2020), and most wins and goals in a single season in all competitions (46 wins, 147 goals in 2021-22).

    He leaves Liverpool with 209 wins from 334 Premier League games, with his Reds scoring 714 goals and conceding just 331 across his successful period at Anfield.

  • Man City star Haaland wins Premier League Golden Boot again Man City star Haaland wins Premier League Golden Boot again

    Erling Haaland has won the Premier League Golden Boot for a second straight season.

    Manchester City striker Haaland finished with 27 goals from 31 appearances this season, finishing five goals ahead of Chelsea attacking midfielder Cole Palmer, who emerged as a surprise contender after leaving the Etihad Stadium for Stamford Bridge ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

    Haaland scored a single-season record 36 goals in his debut year in England and while he did not match those numbers this time around, he ultimately prevailed with a comprehensive five-goal advantage over Palmer.

    Newcastle striker Alexander Isak was in third place with 21 goals. There was a three-way tie for fourth place on 19 goals between Dominic Solanke, Phil Foden and Ollie Watkins.

    Mohamed Salah (18 goals) and Son Heung-min (17) were also prominent high finishers, with Bukayo Saka and Jarrod Bowen joined on 16 by Jean-Philippe Mateta on the final day of the season when he netted a hat-trick in Crystal Palace's 5-0 win over Aston Villa.

    While Haaland claims award glory, it was Foden (two) and Rodri who scored the goals as Man City beat West Ham 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to secure a historic fourth successive Premier League trophy.

    But Haaland's goals had been crucial to getting City into a title-winning position.

    The 23-year-old started the season with a bang, scoring eight goals in his first six top-flight appearances, including a hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Fulham in early September.

    While he battled an injury and a brief mid-season dip in form, doubles against Manchester United and Chelsea kept the Norway forward in contention.

    And Haaland ultimately pulled away from his Golden Boot rivals in the closing stages of the campaign.

    The striker scored four times in the 5-1 home win over Wolves this month to all but end the contest even before his pivotal double against Tottenham on Tuesday put Man City on the brink of title glory.

    Haaland matches the likes of Harry Kane, Salah and Robin van Persie as players to win the Golden Boot in consecutive seasons.

    Thierry Henry has won the most Golden Boot crowns with four, while Kane, Salah and Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer all have three apiece, with Haaland now just one behind that group.

    The Playmaker of the Season award for the most Premier League assists went to Aston Villa striker Watkins.

    As well as scoring his 19 goals, Watkins racked up 13 assists in a fine individual season, helping Villa to Champions League qualification.

    He is the first Aston Villa player to win the award since it began in the 2017-18 season.

    Watkins finished two assists ahead of Palmer (11), who comes second in both awards, while Kevin De Bruyne was part of a large group in a tie for third with 10 assists.

    Man City's De Bruyne is a three-time winner and came close to topping the creative standings again despite missing much of the season through injury.

    The Golden Glove winner is Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, who finished with a final tally of 16 clean sheets.

    He is the Gunners’ first winner of the award since Petr Cech also kept 16 clean sheets for the Gunners in the 2015-16 season. Wojciech Szczęsny is another former Arsenal winner.

    Everton keeper Jordan Pickford was second to Raya with 13 shutouts.

    Those two shot-stoppers did battle on the final day, as Arsenal won 2-1 against Everton, but it was not enough to stop the celebrations for Haaland and City.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.