Over-35 World Cup: Mesut #Ozil Eyes ‘2nd #World Cup’, To Compete With #Ronaldinho In #Football Again—-A new over-35s World Cup competition is set to be held in England this summer, with some of football’s greatest legends being lined up to play.
Plans are in place to launch an eight-team tournament involving England, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Uruguay – the past champions of the FIFA World Cup.
Seven matches are scheduled to be staged in the same stadium over one week at the start of June. While the venue is still being finalised, Mail Sport understands talks have taken place with some of the Premier League’s biggest northern clubs.
The competition is being organised by the Elite Players Group (EPG) – a group of top-level former footballers and sports businessmen who joined forces last year – and will be known as the EPG Cup.
Under their proposals, only players who are aged 35 or over and have been capped by their country or made 100 top-flight appearances will be eligible to take part in the tournament.
The captains of each country are founders of the EPG. Steve McManaman is set to lead England while the other skippers are Esteban Cambiasso (Argentina), Emerson (Brazil), Christian Karembeu (France), Kevin Kuranyi (Germany), Marco Materazzi (Italy), Michel Salgado (Spain) and Diego Lugano (Uruguay).
The provisional squads being circulated and seen by Mail Sport include five former Ballon d’Or winners – England’s Michael Owen, Brazilian trio Kaka, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, and Fabio Cannavaro of Italy.
England are also said to have already enlisted Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, David James, Frank Lampard and Robbie Fowler.
Other stars supposedly being lined up to feature include Brazil’s Cafu and Roberto Carlos and France’s Thierry Henry and Marcel Desailly.
Argentina are said to have Hernan Crespo and Pablo Zabaleta involved, while Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira are on Germany’s draft list.
The Spanish squad being circulated includes David Villa and Carlos Puyol, while Francesco Totti is down to play for Italy and Diego Forlan is listed for Uruguay.
EPG Cup games will be 11-a-side, but over 70 minutes rather than 90, and teams can use roll-on substitutes utilising their 18-man squads.
The quarter-finals are scheduled to be played on June 4 and June 5, with both semi-finals on June 8 before the final on June 11.
Organisers have deliberately chosen the window between the Champions League final on June 1 and the start of Euro 2024 on June 14 – and believe they can get all logistics in place despite having less than four months to plan.