The International Football Federation (FIFA) is working on the idea of holding the World Cup every two years, rather than every four years, as it is now. But the reform has many opponents.
For general discussion, a proposal to reduce the time interval between world championships was submitted in May this year at the 71st FIFA Congress. The main motive was “financial and sports inequality” in world football. The idea of the reform was announced by the President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) Yasser Al-Misehal, and it was supported by two-thirds of FIFA members – 166 national football federations.
This gave rise to FIFA launching a study that will provide a feasibility study for the reform. The famous football coach Arsene Wenger is developing it. Wenger’s idea is to reduce the number of uninteresting qualifiers and the number of international slots on the calendar.
“I think the current situation in the international calendar shows us that we have reached a certain point. This pause for the games of national teams, exacerbated by the situation with the coronavirus infection, showed us how unhealthy it is for football players to travel from one country to another. It is also harmful for tournaments. Too many pointless meetings “, – quotes FIFA President Gianni Infantino SkySports.
FIFA has another motive for hosting the World Championships. At the last world championship in Russia in 2018, the organization earned $ 6.1 billion. To receive such a profit twice as often is a weighty argument.
But the voices of the opponents of the reform are louder. The head of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Aleksandr Čeferin, who threatened to boycott the tournament, spoke out sharply against it. “We can decide not to play. As far as I know, South America is of the same opinion. So good luck with such a world championship “, – quotes the words of Chaferin Times.
“The value of the tournament lies precisely in the fact that it happens every four years. The World Cup, which is held every two years, will overlap with both the women’s tournament and the Olympics. I do not think that our federations will support such a step, ”the UEFA president said.
Former FIFA President Josep Blatter also considered the idea of holding the World Cup every two years. But now he admits that he was wrong. “I realized myself that this is a terrible idea. This cannot be done according to the international calendar. FIFA’s new presidents have a different idea of what football should look like. We have to be careful not to spoil what has been created over the years, ”said Blatter.
Top European leagues and clubs are opposed. “The moment will come when the players will explode, because the matches are becoming more demanding, and we have less and less time to rest. So it’s hard to deal with it, ”said Barcelona and Spain midfielder Sergi Busquets.
Representatives of other sports are not happy either. Hosting the FIFA World Cup every two years will result in an overlap with the Olympic Games. And for representatives of many non-playing sports, the Olympics is the only opportunity to loudly declare themselves to the whole world. “Summer sports intend to defend their positions. It’s already hard for them to gain attention in traditional media or digital. And the world championship, which will be held every two years, will certainly collide with the Olympic Games – said the President of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) Sebastian Coe.
The idea of holding the World Cup more often has its positive aspects. But it will be incredibly difficult to put it into practice: it has too many powerful opponents.