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FIFA boss promises decision on biennial World Cup ‘by end of year’


Paris (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised Wednesday “decisions by the end of the year” on the controversial proposal of staging a World Cup every two years.

The plan, backed by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now director of development at world football’s governing body FIFA, would be part of an extensive shake-up to cut out what Infantino called “too many meaningless matches”.

“We have to have a system which is simple and is clear, which everyone understands, which clearly defines when there are national team games and when there are club games,” he said in an SNTV interview made available to AFP by FIFA.

With the existing international match calendar ending in 2024, “we need to take some decisions by the end of this year”, he said.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warned this week that holding the World Cup every two rather than four years would “dilute” the tournament.

Fans from across the globe were also in favour of keeping the World Cup status quo.

“The overwhelming majority of fans oppose a biennial World Cup cycle, and if FIFA had bothered to engage with us on the subject, they would have known this to be the case,” 58 national fan organisations across the sport’s six confederations said in a joint-statement on Tuesday.

“Why abandon almost a century’s worth of tradition on a whim and with no evidence that it will improve the global game?,” it added.

The World Professional Leagues has added its voice to those opposing the project.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Turfit

    September 9, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Greg, I like some of your ideals!!! Longer international breaks and fewer of them makes a lot more sense. I dislike this international break the most since the season just started.
    Another issue with biennial WC is Olympics. Does FIFA want to compete against Olympics? How does that improve our game?

  2. Ra

    September 9, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    A biennial WC is non-sense. It would devaluate their property considerably. It is precious because is rare. 95% of their revenues come from the WC, but I doubt that such a move would double the revenues. It would also put them in a direct hit course with the confederations and their own tournaments.
    What would be interesting tough is if they decided to play the champions of each confederation similar to what they do with the club world cup. Something like champion and vice-champion of UEFA and Conmembol, and the champions of Concafap, Oceania, CAF, and Asia.
    Kind of a Confederations cup (which is now meaningless) on steroids, at a different schedule and with its own merits, rather than serving just as a dry run for the WC host.

  3. Eric T

    September 9, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    FIFA just keeps cramming the calendar with more and more nonsense…football really needs a player’s association to fight back against this nonsense

  4. greg

    September 9, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    @RichardCerman The Super Bowl:World Cup is apples:oranges. The game was designed to ease the merger between the AFL & NFL, and each league already had annual championships. Also, American football then wasn’t close to what it is now for reasons that have less to do with the Super Bowl than other things. Soccer is already the world’s sport, not sure it needs more market share. This is about revenue generation.

    A more apt comparison might be leagues expanding playoffs (or the NCAA expanding the tournament) or if the NFL said “hey, let’s do a mid-year Super Bowl to crown the champion as of week 8.”

    I get the sense that at least for soccer you’re a big-game fan more than a club fan, which is fine…fandom comes in all forms. It seems like the the support for a biennial world cup comes from big-game fans and most resistance comes from those who are more fans of the game at the club level and the game itself.

    I like the scarcity of the World Cup as is, and in other years there are the Euros & other tournaments. I also need a break from soccer some summers. It’s fine to have a summer off.

    Maybe a solution would be to have the WC still every 4, but the summer prior do a month-long qualifying tournament, maybe using Nations League and federation tournaments as elimination or seeding guides. And do similar for Euros & other federation championships. Something like:

    Year 1 – Federation qualifying tournaments
    Year 2 – Federations championship tournaments
    Year 3 – WC qualifying tournaments
    Year 4 – World Cup

    A month break between summer & league starts. Start leagues a bit later & end a bit earlier since you won’t have as many (if any) international breaks. Maybe one fall & one spring for National Leagues. Eases demands on players in-season.

  5. Richard Ceman

    September 9, 2021 at 8:53 am

    The annual Super Bowl in US football was laughed at when it was proposed. Look at its market share today.
    The enthusiasm that World Cup brings to the international competition through the pride and spirit of each country is palpable and unquenchable. I love watching the World Cup qualifying matches as much, if not more pridefully, than my favorite club and league matches.
    I think moving to a new biennial paradigm for World Cup would be a huge win for all, once all the wrinkles are ironed out.

  6. Daniel

    September 8, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    Just stupidity

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