An investigation by two German media outlets has found Gianni Infantino is trying to sell the rights to the World Cup. The consortium reportedly has major links to Saudi Arabia.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is planning to completely sell all of the sporting federation's major rights to a consortium with links to Saudi Arabia, two German media outlets reported on Friday.
The deal was supposedly meant to deliver two new tournament formats to the new investors, but would also hand over complete rights to the Football World Cup, satellite and network transmissions, archives, movies and videos, video games and merchandising.
This would essentially leave FIFA as a hollow shell, while Infantino would lead the new organization.
Read more: FIFA to push for Club World Cup expansion
Infantino has been touting his new deal since March 2018 but told board members and the public that the deal only encapsulated the creation and subsequent rights to two new tournament formats: a World League for national teams and a Club World Cup expanded to 24 teams. Infantino never disclosed who these investors were, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
Süddeutsche Zeitung and WDR identified the new consortium as British investment group SB Investment Advisers Limited (SBIA) and the London-based investment company Centricus Partners LP, reporting they both maintained close ties with Saudi Arabia. These links reportedly suggest a geopolitical motive behind the deal, rather than a purely business motivation.
aw/bw (dpa, SID)