FIFA will hold talks this week with national team coaches over the controversial idea of holding the men’s World Cup every two years instead of every four years.
Consultations on the proposal, which is strongly opposed by the European Union (UEFA), the South American Federation (CONMEBOL) and the International Olympic Committee, as well as coaches and players, will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.
“Discussions will be led by FIFA’s Director of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger and will include a range of talking points, including player health, international windows, the frequency of World Cup finals and other important issues in the game,” FIFA said on Monday.
The meetings will be held through an online video calling service.
“As coaches of men’s national teams, their contribution is essential,” the Frenchman said, according to what was quoted by a FIFA statement, adding, “The opportunities for us to meet are few and far between, but we must take advantage of these occasions because such dialogue helps us all to protect the unique position that football enjoys in the world.” world and make it truly global.”
The World Cup is held every four years, with the exception of World War II cancellations since its inaugural edition in 1930.
FIFA also wants major continental tournaments, such as the European Cup and Copa America, to be held every two years.
A report from FIFA on the idea of holding the finals every two years is due to be published in November ahead of a world summit by the end of the year.
On Monday, the president of the Swiss-Italian International Federation, Gianni Infantino, called again for a reform of the international calendar and for the World Cup to be held every two years.
“No one is satisfied with the current situation and something must change,” he said during a press conference in Buenos Aires with the president of the Argentine Football Association.
Infantino considered that this reform would lead to greater economic benefits for the unions. “Today there are football competitions that make much more money than the World Cup and the money that was won is distributed to a very small number of clubs,” he said.
He added that organizing the World Cup every two years will open the game of nominations to organize the event, explaining, “If we are talking about the World Cup every year, male and female (alternate), with five neighboring countries that can organize it, within 20 years the World Cup can be organized by nearly 100 countries, which will give football a huge boost. Today it takes 24 years before the World Cup returns to a continent, which is more than a generation.”
The idea of organizing the World Cup every two years was floated in early March by former coach Wenger, but it met with great opposition.
FIFA launched a “feasibility study” proposed by the Saudi Federation for the Game, which is close to Infantino, during the 71st General Assembly meeting in FIFA, which was held on May 21, 2021.
However, FIFA’s proposals met with objections, especially from the Slovenian president of the European Union (UEFA) Aleksandar Ceferin, considering that this plan would “weak” the World Cup, while the CONMEBOL considered that shortening the interval “is not justified from a sporting point of view.”
One of the most prominent arguments for its establishment every two years is that it may bring additional revenue to be distributed to federations in Africa, Asia and South America, which are highly dependent on FIFA financing compared to the rich European federations.
Wenger avoided the risk of overburdening international players, because, according to him, they would take fewer long trips and benefit from “at least 25 days” of rest after their summer competitions with their national teams.
© 2021 AFP