Michael Pavitt ©ITG

Credit to Gianni Infantino. His plans for a revamped 24-team Club World Cup have already made the tournament far more entertaining than the existing one.

The proposal, which emerged less than a month ago, has had football executives falling over themselves in opposition.

European football's governing body UEFA have been among the most vocal opponents of the concept. A joint statement, released after a meeting with the European Club Association, European Leagues and FIFPro Division Europe, expressed "serious reservations" over the plans.

Amidst their fair complaints about "hasty timing and lack of concrete information", there was also grumbling about how players are already being stretched to their limit physically.

"Won't somebody please think of the players?" numerous officials have appeared to cry.

Meanwhile, over in South Africa, Barcelona secured a 3-1 win in their Mandela Centenary Cup tie against local champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

The idea of a Club World Cup is utterly preposterous to thrust upon teams, given the direct threat it poses to a club's ability to compete in financially lucrative pre, post and - in Barcelona’s case - mid-season friendly tournaments in far flung destinations such as Australia, China and the United States.

Thankfully there are proper football men like Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore to protect us from this nonsense. He would never suggest such a daft idea.

A 24-team Club World Cup. Whatever next, a 39th Premier League match taking place overseas?

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin complained earlier this month that FIFA were only interested in discussing the idea of the tournament with top European clubs, rather than consulting with everyone, like in Europe.

Yes, the same UEFA who guaranteed the top four European leagues four direct places in the Champions League from next season. Who really wants the riff-raff from other European leagues to get in the way of the clashes between the Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League and Serie A?

Officials expressed concern over the strain on players while Barcelona were playing a friendly in South Africa before their domestic season ended ©Getty Images
Officials expressed concern over the strain on players while Barcelona were playing a friendly in South Africa before their domestic season ended ©Getty Images

It is understandable that UEFA would be opposed to the Club World Cup's potential rivalry to their own Champions League. After all, the latter stages of the Club World Cup would almost certainly feature the same eight teams which, by and large, make up the quarter-final line-up in most Champions League seasons.

One of the main reasons the current Club World Cup is considered a pointless waste of everyone's time is its completely noncompetitive nature.

Ten of its last 11 editions have been won by European teams, which is no surprise, given the clear financial disparity between the continent's top teams and those from Africa, Asia, Oceania, North America and South America.

If anything, a 24-team tournament would probably make this situation worse. Any player impressing from another continent would almost certainly be hoovered up by a European club straight after the tournament.

The vast prize-pool which would surely be on offer to clubs would probably find itself lining the already bulging pockets of rich "super clubs".

There is actually something quite logical about the world's top clubs going head-to-head to decide who is best, just as the national teams do at the World Cup.

It would have proved fascinating about 60 years ago when European and South American teams would have been on something of a level playing field.

As much as we all gorge on European club football throughout the season, there is something increasingly dispiriting about its sheer repetitiveness.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has been among the officials to complain about the Club World Cup proposals ©Getty Images
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has been among the officials to complain about the Club World Cup proposals ©Getty Images

Immediately after Thomas Tuchel was appointed Paris Saint-Germain manager earlier this month, there were a spate of jokes congratulating the German on winning next season's Ligue 1 title, given their clear financial advantage over their rivals.

Bayern Munich have won the last six Bundesliga titles, while Juventus have clinched seven on the spin in Serie A. Only Atletico Madrid have managed to usurp the Barcelona and Real Madrid dominance in La Liga in recent years. The Premier League, as much as it now boasts a pretty set top six, has at least provided some variety in recent years, including Leicester City's remarkable triumph.

It is the same across Europe, where Champions League cash has largely produced the impetus for one club to dominate their domestic division.

Maybe UEFA could spend a little less time moaning about FIFA and spend some more time trying to readdress this balance somewhat. I do not hold my breath.

As much as international football has become increasingly derided and its importance questioned, the build-up to the World Cup has proved a welcome antidote to the cash gap elsewhere.

There was something heartening about watching videos of the less illustrious members of the Brazilian national team receive call-ups to their World Cup squad, with goalkeeper Cassio and right back Fagner mobbed by their families and Geromel receiving the same treatment from his Gremio team-mates.

England's players, so often derided for their lack of "passion", have also provided some highlights. Marcus Rashford posted a tribute to his mum, while Ashley Young and Dele Alli were among the players to highlight their progression from young players with a dream to fulfilling it by heading to a World Cup.

You could have almost forgotten that the two players turn out for Manchester United and Tottenham, one a club with an official mattress and pillow supplier and the other a team who are building a cheese room in their new stadium.

While I will be back supporting my team in a couple of months, I must admit to having a welcome sense of relief in watching a more unpredictable tournament in the World Cup, where nationality rather than finances decide the line-ups.

That is until football's executives find a way to influence the tournament with money. 

One envisages a nightmarish scenario in the future where FIFA introduce an Indian Premier League style auction from nations to secure the services of players from countries who have failed to qualify or who had been surprisingly left out of their teams.

"Sorry to take you away from your Panini stickerbook Mr Buffon, you have been acquired by Saudi Arabia."