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UEFA remain adamantly against proposed plans for biennial World Cup citing ‘serious concerns’

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What was said as UEFA cite ‘serious concerns’ for biennial World Cup

The following is UEFA’s media release regarding the growing movement to establish a biennial World Cup amidst an already congested footballing calendar via talkSPORT.

UEFA is disappointed with the methodology adopted, which has so far led to radical reform projects being communicated and openly promoted before having been given, together with other stakeholders, the chance to participate in any consultation meeting.

There are real dangers associated with this plan:

  • the dilution of the value of the n.1 world football event, whose quadrennial occurrence gives it a mystique that generations of fans have grown up with; 
  • the erosion of sporting opportunities for the weaker national teams by replacing regular matches with final tournaments; 
  • the risk to sustainability for players, forced to engage in summer high intensity competitions every year instead of longer recuperation breaks in alternate years; 
  • the risk for the future of women’s tournaments, deprived of exclusive slots and overshadowed by the proximity of top men’s events. 

These are just some of the serious concerns that the FIFA proposal provokes at first glance and they cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments.”

UEFA is of the opinion that the future of the international calendar should be the subject of genuine consultation and exchange between FIFA, the confederations and key stakeholders of competitions, kicking off with an open discussion on perceived problems and considering a range of solutions that will be identified in the course of the debate, taking into account the interest of the game and the legitimate point of view of the different parties. On 14 September, UEFA and its 55 member associations asked FIFA to organize a special meeting with them to be able to voice their concerns on the impact of such plans. UEFA and its 55 member associations have to-date not yet received a reply from FIFA on this request.”

Divide along federation lines regarding calendar revamp

Former Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger – FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development – is one of the chief advocates for the establishment of a biennial World Cup tournament. And though many league federations across UEFA remain staunchly against it, including with the open criticism of the notion that players being treated like they are machines, there is a divide amongst FIFA federations when it comes to the idea of fully exploring the proposal.

FIFA’s two strongest federations – UEFA and CONMEBOL – remain firmly entrenched against any plans to move forward, but both CONCACAF and AFC “continue to look at these proposals constructively, with an open mind, and in the spirit of positive engagement.”

UEFA remain adamantly against proposed plans for biennial World Cup citing ‘serious concerns’

El Salvadors players pose before their Central American qualification football match against Saint Kitts and Nevis for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador on June 15, 2021. (Photo by Marvin Recinos / AFP) (Photo by MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images)

With Qatar 2022 in the not so distant future, the divide amongst the future of international football and its long-reaching effects on the club side of the game looks set to continue.


This article was edited by Ben Browning.