CVC Capital Partners has held talks with football's international governing body FIFA about the potential financing of the renewed Club World Cup tournament, including the acquisition of its television rights, London's Financial Times reported, citing several people with knowledge of the discussions.
FIFA announced in October that the eight-team contest will expand to 24 teams and will consist of at least eight European teams. It will take place every four years, with China expected to host the revamped event in 2021, according to the report.
Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez has also reached out to the private equity firm and other corporate groups about forming a rival annual club league tournament, several people with knowledge of the discussions told the FT.
The Spanish football club is looking into the creation of two leagues with 20 competing teams each, one person briefed on the talks said. Eight of those teams could feature the founding clubs behind the newly created body World Football Club Association, of which Perez was appointed president in November.
The founder members consist of Real Madrid, Italy's AC Milan, New Zealand's Auckland City, Argentina's Boca Juniors and River Plate, Mexico's Club America, China's Guangzhou Evergrande, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Mazembe.
CVC's talks with FIFA are more solid and detailed than those with Pérez amid doubts whether he can secure support from the sport's power brokers to launch a new global club league, sources said.
FIFA will announce a tender process for corporate groups to submit an offer for the Club World Cup's commercial rights as early as on the week of Dec. 9, a person close to the process said.
The competition's rights have attracted the interest of other buyout firms, Chinese conglomerates and international broadcasters, people close to the talks said.
Real Madrid did not comment on detailed questions sent by the news publication but shared that Pérez has never reached out to CVC's head of media and sport. CVC did not comment on the matter.
FIFA also did not comment on matters involving CVC, the report noted. However, it said that it has talked to football clubs across the globe to get their opinion on how to make the revamped Club World Cup competition a success.