Bigger World Cup is 'complete insanity', says Dortmund CEO

Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:42am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - FIFA President Gianni Infantino's proposal for a bigger World Cup is complete insanity, putting more pressure on already stretched players and risking damage to the sport's showcase event, Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told Reuters on Thursday

FIFA President Gianni Infantino proposed this month increasing the World Cup to 48 teams up from the current 32. A decision will be taken in January, but FIFA is discussing it this week.

"I am totally against it. It is complete insanity," Watzke told Reuters in an interview. "The World Cup is the biggest thing in football and should not be played around with."

He said players were already playing too many games, in several competitions simultaneously.

"Players are already permanently stretched too thin. For FIFA this may not be important at all but we as a club have to go against it," Watzke said.

"What will happen next? The next FIFA President proposes 84 clubs? Look at the huge gaps in the qualifiers that already exist. The qualifiers are at times so boring that any thought of a bigger World Cup is crazy."

A FIFA spokesperson simply said: "The proposal for a 48-team World Cup will be discussed at the FIFA Council during the next two days." [nL4N1CH396]

Watzke said the many competitions could prove a challenge for Dortmund as well this season, following the departure of key players, including Mats Hummels, Ilkay Guendogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.   Continued...

Borussia Dortmund's chairman of the board Hans-Joachim Watzke sits on the bench before his team's German first division Bundesliga soccer match against Bayern Munich in Dortmund April 4, 2015.  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay