French federation chief not opposed to biennial World Cup

Paris (AFP) – French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet says he is “not opposed” to the highly controversial idea of staging a World Cup every two years, after FIFA held an online summit to discuss the project.

“It would be a mistake not to look into this,” the veteran Le Graet, 79, told Friday’s edition of sports daily L’Equipe, a day after world football’s governing body held the summit with its 211 member federations in an attempt to rally support.

Le Graet said he was “very favourable” to the idea of staging biennial World Cups for women “as long as they are played in winter and not in summer when it would be too close to the men’s”.

He was more reserved about having more regular men’s World Cups but admitted: “Personally, I am not opposed to the idea, but I wouldn’t give carte blanche to it either.

“I need to know if this project will enrich or impoverish the French Federation, of which I am the president.”

Le Graet pointed out that UEFA’s decision to create a new biennial tournament, the Nations League, held in between European Championships and World Cups, was problematic as it made it harder for national teams on other continents to have the opportunity to play European sides in friendlies.

In contrast, France coach Didier Deschamps — who led Les Bleus to World Cup glory in Russia in 2018 — on Thursday said that playing the World Cup more regularly threatened “to banalise” it. He added that the current format of a tournament every four years was “fine as it is”.

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