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EXCLUSIVE Soccer-FIFA vice-president Montagliani offers a compromise on the World Cup plan

EXCLUSIVE Soccer-FIFA vice-president Montagliani offers a compromise on the World Cup plan

MANCHESTER, England, December 2 (Reuters) - FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani has indicated a possible compromise solution in the heated issue over the proposal for a biennial World Cup that has divided the worldwide governing body.

Canadian Montagliani, who is president of CONCACAF, which governs the game in North and Central America and the Caribbean, is a crucial friend of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and his desire for an alternative tournament is likely to be discussed this month.

Infantino has been locked in a bitter dispute with UEFA, the European confederation, over the intentions to boost the frequency of the World Cup, with top leagues and clubs also opposed to the goals fronted by FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger.

Montagliani told Reuters in an interview that an alternative to a biennial World Cup might be a tournament loosely based on the old Confederations Cup, which has not been held since 2017, or a global version of the Nations League format, developed by UEFA and CONCACAF.

"I'm totally honored for the principle of having an event, in between World Cups," Montagliani stated.

"What is that going to be, how do we look at it, how does it influence other things like qualifying processes and tournaments that are already there?" He added.

The Confederations Cup was held every four years, in preparation of the World Cup, and the eight-nation tournament included each of the continent's champions, such as the Euro and Copa America, as well as the World Cup holders and the host nation.

"We had something in between the World Cups, which was the old Confederations Cup, it wasn't a tournament everyone was turned on to, but for some confederations it was a wonderful link between your regional competition and an international competition, we lost that," Montagliani added.

"We had discussions over a 'Global Nations League' four or five years ago, so these discussions are not foreign to the table. They may seem different, whether it's a Global Nations League, a Confederations Cup, or Arsene's concept of a biennial World Cup, these are events that occur in between the present World Cup cycles.

"What I'd want to see is (analysis of) the fall-out, not so much on the revenue side, but what is the impact on the eco-system we currently have, and I believe our approach is to examine this from a holistic perspective," he added.

TOURNAMENTS THAT ARE EXISTING

One of the advantages of the Confederations Cup technique was that there was no need for a separate qualification process given teams would earn their places through existing continental tournaments, according to the Canadian.

FIFA is scheduled to hold a global summit of all national associations on December 20 to consider its intentions.

Infantino was searching for a consensus on the issue and the overall goal of a new international match calendar for the game in October, after the UEFA threatened to boycott an additional World Cup. The present calendar of international tournaments will conclude in 2024.

"We need to look at sporting and economic merits, then we can have a rationaled discussion about World Cups and perhaps other competitions," Infantino said.

Montagliani has changed CONCACAF's club competition from a group stage format to a straight knockout tournament and stated that the format for a new tournament should be discussed.

"It might be completely different from what a World Cup would be...a different format that we haven't considered that may be exciting for fans," he said.

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