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FIFA to consult football leaders on international calendar

Paris (AFP) – FIFA has invited football’s national federations to an online summit on September 30 to discuss the international calendar, in its push to hold the World Cup every two years instead of four.

World football’s governing body wants to launch a “new consultation phase” for the international women’s and men’s calendar, set to expire at the end of 2023 and 2024 respectively.

“There is a broad consensus within the game that the international match calendar should be reformed and improved,” FIFA said in a statement Monday.

“Following invitations to stakeholders, including all confederations, at the beginning of September, discussions are being organised in the coming weeks.

“FIFA also invited its member associations to a first online summit on 30 September 2021. This is one of several opportunities to establish a constructive and open debate, at a global and regional level, over the coming months.”

The controversial proposal for a biennial World Cup was revived in March by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now head of global football development at FIFA.

The idea would be to have an international tournament each year from 2025-2026, alternating World Cups and continental tournaments like the European Championship and Copa America.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is fiercely opposed to the proposal and threatened that European nations would boycott a biennial World Cup.

South American confederation CONMEBOL said the project had “no sporting justification”.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has promised decisions on staging a World Cup every two years would be made by the end of the year.

Last week FIFA published an online poll that claimed a majority of football fans support the idea of a “more frequent” World Cup.

The results of the survey came in stark contrast to the opposition of numerous national supporters groups worldwide.

Global players’ union FIFPro has denounced “the absence of a real dialogue” on the subject, pointing out the “natural physiological limits” of footballers.

“Without the agreement of the players, who bring all competitions to life on the pitch, no such reforms will have the required legitimacy,” said FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann. 

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  1. Ra

    September 22, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    @greg. I think that this is a very cleverly designed survey. It is exactly what they were briefed to do and paid to conclude.

  2. greg

    September 22, 2021 at 10:47 am

    @Kate – FIFA did a survey. A badly sampled, designed & reported survey, but they did one. I say this as someone who’s profession is data analysis & survey design.

    Surprise, they claim it validates the view that more fans favor more frequent WCs. But that’s if you add 1, 2 & 3 year cycles combined. Dig into the results at the link “Survey results — in detail” and you see that the 4 year WC still has a plurality of support. And when you drill down by federation area, country and age you see it still mostly holds that among the 4 options, most people want 4yr. If they’d done a binary 2 or 4 year choice, that would be more valid.

    The sample was bad because they tried to get the same amount from all countries, meaning without weighting the fan voice in small countries in Asia have more weight in results in bigger countries in Europe or South America. FIFA knows there is TV money to be made in Asia and they have the most hunger for more content featuring the bigger stars.

    This entire FIFA organization is as corrupt as the Blatter regime, they just wear better fitting suits and are better at cozying up to money like SoftBank and the Saudis. Infantino is driven by extracting as much money as possible via more events, doling it out to the poorer countries to keep their support (and to be fair, they need it to develop the game, their national teams, etc) and keep power.

  3. Kate

    September 20, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I would love to see the real time survey results that say the majority of fans want the WC every two years, Everything I’ve seen from fan groups all over the world says “No! NO! No!”. It’s too expensive and unsafe (COVID) for fans to travel. How will the National teams that are currently struggling financially do this?

  4. locofooty

    September 20, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    I hate FIFA, yet if you want to participate in Planet Football, you gotta go through them. I hope UEFA and CONMEBOL have enough influence to stop this. They should even warn of a boycott if necessary. Copa America and EURO are precious. Instead of messing with the WC, they should focus and keep an eye on the corrupt Confederations and national federations stealing the money that’s supposed to go to grow the game in precisely the same places that don’t stand a chance to qualify for a WC. Quantity does not equal quality.

  5. dave

    September 20, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    I did some quick research and it seems this proposal will be voted on as a congress (one vote per nation) rather than by executive session (one vote per confederation or whatever). The vote on running a feasibility study (proposed by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by Infantino) was 166-22 in favor
    It is of course possible, common even, for members of a legislative body to vote “yes” to a feasibility study and “no” to the resulting proposal. There are 211 member associations eligible to vote in the next congress. Where it could get interesting is if a commanding majority (say 160-50) votes “yes” but an influential bloc (such as UEFA or CONMEBOL) largely aligns in voting “no”

  6. jason

    September 20, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    @Christopher Harris Translation…the carribean nations are for it 🙂

  7. Hans

    September 20, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    Klinsman took a stand on this in one of ESPN-FC shows and he seemed to be in favor of it but concluded saying, it will be discussed at great length and then they will vote on it. It only will get messy if the 2 year cycle is approved and UEFA & CONMEBOL are objecting. For me personally and most pundits on the ESPN_FC show they favor 4 year cycle. Never mind the players who will get exhausted and club football which pays their wages will suffer.

  8. Ra

    September 20, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    @JP Also, every WC winner is from these 2 confederations. The question is – what is their price?

  9. JP

    September 20, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    @Ra, if UEFA and Conmembol are against the proposal they should boycott the WC or only participate every other 2 cycle to keep it as a defacto 4 years.
    A WC without UEFA and Conmembol would be worthless as it removes the countries where fans are most invested, and would devalue the existing product to where winning it is virtually meaningless.

  10. Ra

    September 20, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    $$. Only UEFA and Conmembol are expected to offer strong opposition as they have profitable products in the Euros and Copa America.

  11. jason

    September 20, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    This won’t get off the ground…i hope not. Hope the confederations, the clubs, and the fans can unite to stop FIFA here.

    • Christopher Harris

      September 20, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      So far, it appears that Concacaf is in support of the changes.

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