The Latest: Copa America moves to even years from 2020
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — The Latest on the FIFA Council meeting (all times local):
FIFA has agreed to change the dates of tournaments in Africa and South America.
The Copa America will shift from odd to even-numbered years, starting in 2020 and putting the quadrennial event in line with the timings of the European Championship.
The FIFA Council approved a request from African Cup of Nations organizers to move the 2023 edition from January-February to June-July.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says the soccer body is ready to unblock a $100 million fund from 2014 World Cup tournament revenues for host Brazil.
The fund was frozen in fallout from corruption investigations.
FIFA promised the money in 2014 for “women’s and grassroots football, healthcare and social programs for underprivileged communities” in Brazil.
The fund was agreed to with Brazilian soccer leaders Jose Maria Marin and Marco Polo del Nero, who were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice in a sprawling bribery and racketeering case. Marin is serving a four-year jail sentence, and Del Nero has remained in Brazil to evade arrest.
Infantino says FIFA has “found a way” the funds can be invested “not all at once but with all necessary controls” that meet FIFA’s compliance standards.
The Spanish league says it could go to court to challenge FIFA’s opposition to its games being played in the United States.
FIFA says the council at a meeting on Friday “emphasized the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.”
FIFA is expected to confirm that position in writing to CONCACAF and the federations in the United States and Spain.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the Spanish league says “should we receive official notification from FIFA that they prohibit the match, we will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) with urgency.”
The FIFA Council has approved the prize money for the Women’s World Cup, doubling it to $30 million next year.
There will also be $11.5 million shared with the 24 teams for tournament preparations and $8.5 million will be split by clubs releasing players.
Players unions, though, still want more gender equality.
France earned $38 million from FIFA for winning the men’s World Cup in July. The women’s champion next year in France will earn $4 million, which is twice the amount collected by the United States team in 2015.
World players’ union FIFPro says “despite these changes football remains even further from the goal of equality for all World Cup players regardless of gender.”
The prize money for the men’s World Cup in Russia this year rose 12 percent to $400 million. FIFA gave teams $48 million for preparation costs and also shared $209 million with clubs which sent players to the tournament.
FIFPro says there has been “an increase in the gap between men’s and women’s prize money. This regressive trend appears to contravene FIFA’s statutory commitment to gender equality.”
The FIFA Council is opposed to Spanish league games being played in the United States.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says the council backed the principle that “official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.”
The league wants Barcelona to play Girona in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Jan. 26. It needs approval from the Spanish and American federations, plus continental bodies UEFA and CONCACAF.
FIFA received requests to take a stance from CONCACAF and the federations in the United States and Spain. FIFA’s permission for the game is not mandatory.
A $25 billion overhaul of world soccer competitions is on hold after mounting disapproval from European leaders and clubs saw FIFA President Gianni Infantino accept more consultation was necessary.
A taskforce of regional confederation presidents headed by Infantino will explore in more detail the merits of the new formats, a climb down by the FIFA leader who started the week hoping for an agreement in principle on revamping the Club World Cup and establishing a Global Nations League.
Infantino says the council agreed to “bolster the consultation process” before the next FIFA Council meeting in Miami in March.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin thaw rted Infantino’s desire to secure the agreement at Friday’s meeting after gathering complaints from European clubs and leagues.
Ceferin said after leaving the meeting that “common sense prevailed.”
A FIFA decision on a $25 billion overhaul of competitions was expected to be delayed again after opposition from European soccer leaders and clubs intensified.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino had hoped to secure an agreement from his council on the concept of revamping the Club World Cup and establishing a Global Nations League.
Instead, a taskforce is set to be created to explore in more detail the merits of the new formats, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversations ahead of the council meeting were private.
By backing down in the face of UEFA opposition, Infantino was likely to avoid the prospect of European representatives carrying out a threat to walk out of the meeting when the new competitions were discussed.
— By Rob Harris.