'Confederations Cup future in doubt'

German FA boss Grindel, who is also a Fifa council member, says the tournament puts too much strain on clubs, players and organisers

The future of the Confederations Cup is uncertain, given the pressure it puts on clubs, players and World Cup organisers, German Football Association President Reinhard Grindel said on Wednesday.

The international tournament is staged by every World Cup host in the year before the sport's biggest prize and was conceived as a way of helping organisers test venues and operations ahead of the big event.

It features continental champions, the world champions and the Worlds Cup hosts.

This year's tournament begins tomorrow in Russia, which hosts next year's World Cup.

There will be no competition in 2021 ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to the summer heat in the desert state.

The World Cup in Qatar will be played during winter months, when temperatures are somewhat cooler - a decision that has angered clubs and federations as it affects league action in many countries.

"For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there are already problems with the timetable, so (the date switch) can hardly happen (there) two years in a row," added Grindel, who is also a council member at world football governing body Fifa.

"The 2026 World Cup (which will feature 48 teams) will not be any longer as a tournament ... but it still will have 16 more teams," Grindel said.

"Those (teams) also have players from the Bundesliga (German top division) who will not come back early and be fully fit."

World champions Germany have sent a second-string squad to Russia to give key players a rest ahead of next year's title defence.

Russia kick off the tournament tomorrow with a match against New Zealand, and Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov made it clear how seriously they are taking their campaign.

Asked if the team are going to have any days-off after their match, he said: "Days-off? Porters have days-off. We have a rest day and the only one. Then back to work." - WIRE SERVICES