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UEFA working with CONMEBOL on joint Nations League

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UEFA is in talks with the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) over a joint Nations League that would see the likes of Brazil and Argentina feature in the expanded competition, European soccer’s governing body told Reuters on Friday.

UEFA and CONMEBOL have fiercely opposed world soccer body FIFA’s plans for a biennial World Cup, with the two this week signing an extended Memorandum of Understanding until June 2028.

European champions Italy are already also set to take on Copa America winners Argentina in the so-called “Finalissima” on June 1 next year in London.

“UEFA is working on a number of projects with CONMEBOL, including a joint Nations League but nothing is finalised and no decisions have yet been made,” aspokesperson told Reuters.

In an interview with Polish outlet Meczyki on Thursday, UEFA vice-president Zbigniew Boniek said the 10 South American teams will be added to the Nations League competition from 2024.

“From 2024 CONMEBOL will join the Nations League. We do not know yet in what formula, in what form … we signed a memorandum about cooperation between CONMEBOL and UEFA and from 2024 these teams will play in the Nations League,” he said.

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Boniek added that six CONMEBOL teams will join League A of the Nations League while the other four will join League B.

The entry of South American sides would increase the number of teams in the two groups from 16 to 22 and 20, respectively, with all the matches reportedly set to be played in Europe to avoid excessive travel.

The revamped Nations League would also represent direct competition to FIFA’s plans for a World Cup every two years, a proposal Boniek said would be difficult to implement, adding that he was against the idea of introducing more new events.

FIFA will hold a global summit on Monday to discuss their ambitious plans, but UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who has been a vocal critic of the biennial World Cup idea, has said the meeting would not be a defining moment in the process. 

“As much as we know FIFA is still pursuing the project, there are some signals coming from different sides that they might not pursue it till the end,” he said this week.

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“We don’t have a particular strategy. For Monday, it will be 211 federations, that means 500 people at the videoconference. I don’t expect something very deep.”

-Reuters

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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