London (AFP) – Premier League clubs have united in opposition to FIFA’s controversial proposal to hold the World Cup every two years.
FIFA’s biennial World Cup scheme was mooted earlier this year by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who now works as chief of global football development for the governing body.
The World Cup is currently played every four years, with the next tournament scheduled for Qatar in 2022.
Wenger recently said critics of his idea were making an “emotional” response.
FIFA also has plans for qualifying matches to be reduced and condensed into one or two international breaks per season, rather than the current five, from 2024.
But representatives of the 20 Premier League clubs unanimously rejected the proposals at a meeting in London on Thursday.
“The Premier League is committed to preventing any radical changes to the post-2024 FIFA international match calendar that would adversely affect player welfare and threaten the competitiveness, calendar, structures and traditions of domestic football,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.
“We are open to reforms and new ideas, but they must enhance the complementary balance between domestic and international football in order to improve the game at all levels.
“This process should also involve meaningful agreements with the leagues that provide the foundations for the game.
“We will continue to work with supporter groups, players, domestic and international stakeholders to find solutions that are in the best interests of football’s long-term future.”
The Premier League joined UEFA and the European Club Association in condemning FIFA’s widely-panned plans.
FIFA’s decision to play the Qatar World Cup in November and December has caused a more immediate calendar headache for the Premier League.
The league has confirmed the 2022-23 season will stop after the 16th round of matches on the weekend of November 12 and 13, resuming on December 26 after the World Cup’s conclusion.
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