Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer became the latest high profile football figure to criticise FIFA’s idea of staging a World Cup finals every two years saying “you must never sacrifice football on the altar of financial interests.”
“Players, coaches, everyone who bears responsibility in the clubs groan and moan about too many games — and now the World Cup rhythm is to be increased again? That simply doesn’t make sense,” Hainer said in Thursday’s edition of German magazine Kicker.
“We have to think about the health of the players.”
On Wednesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he wants to find a consensus on the controversial idea before a summit planned for December 20.
There is already strong criticism from Europe.
The German Football Association (DFB) is opposed to a World Cup every two years, an incendiary topic given the various interests at stake, between clubs and national teams, domestic leagues and international competitions.
Hainer says FIFA should not tamper with the current schedule of a global finals every four years.
“The rhythm has proven itself over many decades,” said the boss of Bayern, who have been European champions six times.
“The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world — and not without reason,” he added, fearing FIFA’s proposal could “ultimately lead to over-saturation and thus damage football in the long run”.
He also believes that if the men’s World Cup finals are held every two years, there could be less interest in women’s tournaments.
He urged FIFA not to only think of the financial benefits.
“Of course, this idea is also about generating additional revenue, and money plays an important role in professional sport,” he said.
“But you must never sacrifice football on the altar of financial interests.”
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