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Real Madrid backs plans for Club WC

MADRID (AP) Reigning champion Real Madrid is supporting plans to expand the Club World Cup to 24 teams following a meeting at FIFA.

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Madrid is part of the European Club Association, which has voiced concerns about FIFA President Gianni Infantino's proposals for a quadrennial Club World Cup to replace the annual tournament and pushed for players to get more mandatory rest periods.

Europe's top domestic competitions, including the English Premier League and Spain's La Liga, have also opposed FIFA's plans.

But Madrid, winner of the last two editions of the Club World Cup, is endorsing Infantino's vision of the tournament being played every four years in June or July with 12 representatives from Europe.

Madrid's director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno, believes fans would prefer the new tournament over the current seven-team format.

''We honestly believe it could be an attractive competition,'' he said. ''We see it that way as do other important clubs in Europe, who see the possibility favorably.''

A FIFA briefing document on the project said clubs would share prize money totaling 75 percent of at least $3 billion revenue from each Club World Cup edition which would be guaranteed by a consortium of investors.

The 2017 edition in the United Arab Emirates earned $37 million revenue for FIFA, with Madrid the European representative alongside the other continental champions and the host nation's league winner.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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