March 8, 2021

CFU boss backs FIFA World Cup expansion

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By Neto Baptiste From Antigua Observer

President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Gordon Derrick, has welcomed the increase in teams competing in the 2020 World Cup, hoping that the move will open up more opportunities for Caribbean teams to qualify for the World Cup Finals.

FIFA voted unanimously, this week, to increase the number of teams from 32 to 48 while also increasing the number of tournament matches from 64 to 80.

“If there are 48 spots, then I would assume that there would be more slots available to ,” he said. “And if there are more slots available to CONCACAF, then it gives more opportunities for the Caribbean teams to to the World Cup, so any increase in positions that comes to the CONCACAF region can only, at the end of the day, be a positive for us.”

The tournament will be completed within 32 days — a measure to appease powerful European clubs, that objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule.

But according to Derrick, the recent European Championships debunked the notion that an increase in teams would result in a “watered-down” tournament.

“No, the same arguments you’re hearing now are the same arguments they had before the Euros that just finished. They were all shot down, because I am sure no one can say that the quality of the European championships was watered down, with Iceland defeating all those teams and creating such a historic moment and excitement within the whole of Europe, and Portugal reaching the finals. So even though there were more teams, it was a very exciting European championships,” he said.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been behind the move, saying the World Cup has to be “more inclusive”.

According to FIFA research, revenue is predicted to increase to £5.29bn for a 48-team tournament, giving a potential profit rise of £521m.

Campaign group New FIFA Now described the expansion as “a money grab and power grab”.

But Infantino said: “It’s not at all a money and power grab, it is the opposite, it’s a football decision.”

He added the decision was taken “based on sporting merit”.

IMAGE: President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Gordon Derrick.

For more on this story go to: http://antiguaobserver.com/cfu-boss-backs-fifa-world-cup-expansion/

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