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Vladimir Putin to attend 2018 World Cup opening match

05 May 2018

BC-SOC-FIFA-New Competitions, 128Leagues want Europe to unite, oppose new FIFA competitionsEds: APNewsNow.

Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking officials in Sochi, one of 11 World Cup cities, Infantino said preparations for the month-long tournament were almost complete.

But European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson, whose organisation now has a place at UEFA's top table, likened the plans to the dark days of FIFA's past and called for a united front in Europe against Infantino's ambitious game-changing project.

Infantino is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format rather than retaining it as an annual event.At the same time, he hopes to launch a biennial league tournament for nations, the Global Nations League, grouping eight teams including the winners of worldwide competitions in each of FIFA's regional confederations.

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The Nations League would be a global version of the new competitions which are being introduced by UEFA this year.

There is promotion and relegation between the divisions, as in conventional domestic leagues.

"Russia is ready for the tournament", and has only some last-minute "fine-tuning" to do, Putin said after meeting in Sochi with Gianni Infantino, president of soccer's world governing body, FIFA.

Infantino has said that he believes the deals together could be worth $25 billion in a 12-year cycle and has put his plans to FIFA's Council saying they are backed by an, as yet unnamed, worldwide consortium of investors.

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The 2018 FIFA World Cup is expected to draw as many foreign tourists to Russian regions as they usually receive throughout the whole year, a local organizing committee senior executive said on Wednesday.

'What we have experienced is a clear lack of consultation and transparency, and an intentional manipulation of the decision-making structure by Federation Internationale de Football Association in presenting these proposals. "To present a long-term 12-year plan with lots of uncertainty and a lack of information sounds, to me, like a "can of worms".

FIFA's ideas require taking weekend dates from European leagues for its own competitions to use.

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Vladimir Putin to attend 2018 World Cup opening match