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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Tension Between EPL and FIFA

  • Premier League CEO Richard Masters said there is unresolvable tension with FIFA.
  • He noted that FIFA is asking more of players, who are 'maxed out.'
Premier League

Premier League teams and players are some of the most in-demand athletes in the world — a fact that has caused some friction between the top-flight English league and FIFA, soccer’s global governing body.

Premier League CEO Richard Masters acknowledged that there is tension between his league and FIFA on Front Office Sports Today, adding, “The question is, can we sort it out? And the answer is no.”

FIFA, which already made an unsuccessful attempt to double the frequency of the World Cup to every two years, is now pursuing other avenues to grow international competition — namely the Club World Cup, which will be played in 2025.

“If two premier league clubs get into a final and it finishes in the middle of July, I’m not entirely sure how they’re going to participate in the beginning of the Premier League season,” said Masters.

Masters explained that while players have the same historical requirements from domestic leagues and established international competitions like the UEFA Champions League, FIFA is growing the World Cup to a 48-team tournament and asking more and more of players. 

“The demands on that top strata of players are growing, and I think basically, they’re maxed out,” said Masters

As both FIFA and the Premier League grow in stature, Masters is looking for a partner in the international governing body, but finds that FIFA is often an adversary.

“Ultimately, national team football is fantastic and should have its part of all of this, and the World Cup is a brilliant competition — but FIFA’s responsibility is to ensure that it all remains [balanced], and we don’t feel like we get a proper seat at the table.”

Both entities are making major plays for the U.S. audience. Premier League teams are selling out crowds at summer exhibition games across the U.S., while FIFA is bringing both the 2025 Club World Cup and the 2026 World Cup to the U.S.

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