FIFA is considering the possibility of hosting the World Cup every two years, instead of four. The proposal was brought to light by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) at the annual congress. FIFA will be launching a feasibility study to understand the consequences of such a move. Qatar will host the next edition of World Cup in 2022 while the women’s edition will be played in Australia and New Zealand in 2023.
“We believe the future of football is at a critical juncture. The many issues that football has faced have now been further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. It is important to review how the global game is structured, which should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimum basis for how football is managed both from a competition and a commercial perspective as well as overall football development,” Goal.com quoted SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal as saying.
“Having fewer yet more meaningful competitive national team matches could potentially address concerns regarding player welfare whilst at the same time enhancing the value and merit of such competitions,” he added.
The FIFA President Gianni Infantino insisted that they will not rush into the investigation.
“We have to go into these studies with an open mind but we are not going to take decisions which will jeopardise what we are [already] doing. We know about the value of the World Cup, believe me,” said Infantino.
“I would like to put this discussion in a much broader context, that of the international match calendar. Are we really convinced that playing qualifying games [across the year] is the right way when we are saying that fans want more meaningful games?
“All these points have to be considered. But we will put the sporting element as the top priority, not the commercial element,” he added.
This is not the first time such an idea has been mooted. Earlier in 1999, former FIFA President Sepp Blatter put forward the idea of hosting the World Cup every two years. However, he faced severe backlash from UEFA and European football’s governing body. According to Blatter, changing the World Cup cycle to two years was necessary to boost the ‘national team football’.
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