Infantino fires back at Loew over World Cup criticism

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[October 15, 2016]    By Brian Homewood
 ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said Joachim Loew needs to be more open to helping football's development after the Germany coach criticized plans to expand the World Cup.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures after a meeting of the FIFA Council at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Loew, whose Germany side won the 2014 World Cup, has criticized Infantino's plans to increase the amount of teams from 32 to 40 or 48 and said it would dilute the quality of the tournament.

"It's easy for the world champions to have an opinion about the World Cup," Infantino told reporters on Friday. "What can I say to him? That he must be open to renewal, for football, for football development. "Not everyone has the chance to qualify for the World Cup every time like Germany do."

The FIFA council is studying proposals for the format and size of the 2026 World Cup.

These range from keeping the current 32-team competition, to a 48-team tournament put forward by Infantino last week. The council is due to make a decision by Jan. 10.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

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