Infantino says future of Confederations Cup uncertain

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KAZAN, Russia (AP) FIFA President Gianni Infantino warned Saturday that the future of the Confederations Cup is uncertain beyond next year’s competition in Russia.

Speaking ahead of the draw for the 2017 tournament, Infantino says it remains unclear how and when the following edition, provisionally set for 2021, will be played.

That’s because the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be held in November and December, meaning the Confederations Cup would cause severe disruption to the club calendar if held in its traditional slot a year before the bigger tournament.

Infantino said FIFA officials are discussing questions such as “Shall we play it in June? Shall we play it in November? Shall we think about the format?”

He added that “we are putting everything on the table.”

Last year, then-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said the 2021 tournament would be moved from Qatar and played elsewhere in Asia. However, it’s not clear whether that plan survived Valcke being banned from football earlier this year.

Despite featuring many of the best teams in world football – with FIFA’s six continental champions, plus the World Cup holder and the following year’s World Cup host – the Confederations Cup has struggled to build a distinct identity beyond being simply a test event for a larger tournament’s facilities.

Germany coach Joachim Loew plans to leave out some of the World Cup holder’s established players to focus on youth at next year’s tournament in Russia, but Infantino insisted that didn’t devalue the tournament.

“I’m sure that Joachim Loew and his team … they take the Confederations Cup very, very seriously,” Infantino said.

DRAW: On Saturday the draw was made for the 2017 Confederations Cup tournament in Russia, with the following two groups

Group A

New Zealand

Group B

Winner of 2017 African Cup of Nations