FIFA World Cup: World Cup every two years. Sounds fun, right? If you are a supporter of the move, there is good news for you. On Friday, FIFA Congress approved a proposal to host the men’s and women’s World Cup every two years instead of four. The proposal brought forward by Saudi Arabia’s football federation (SAFF) has now received a green signal for a feasibility study with FIFA President Gianni Infantino hinting at a calendar overhaul to free up the calendar.
At the FIFA Congress, the proposal, brought forward by SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal, received 166 votes in favour and only 22 against it. Now, FIFA will launch a feasibility study that will explore the idea and discuss it with various other stakeholders including players, coaches amongst others. The study will also look at qualifying competitions and freeing up the calendar to accommodate the FIFA World Cup.
The proposal was launched to help the footballing world heal from the fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to clubs and national associations incurring huge losses due to suspension of tournaments and absence of a crowd.
“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,” Al-Misehal said.
“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.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino called it an “eloquent and detailed proposal”. However, the proposal comes after FIFA scrapped the Confederations Cup due in 2017 before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It was deemed unfeasible with FIFA Club World Cup set to replace the tournament. But the fate of the competition is also in jeopardy with the European Club Association shooting down the proposal. However, FIFA still has the tournament on the agenda and the revamped 24-club version could take place in 2022 or 2023.
As for the FIFA World Cup, it was hosted every four years since 1930 except in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. The Women’s World Cup began in 1991 and has since been held every four years as well.
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But Gianni Infantino said the calendar could be reworked from scratch if needed.
“Let me be very clear: the starting point is not ‘the calendar is full and so nothing changes’. The starting point is the exact opposite of that. We have a blank sheet and we are open to taking on board all views and opinions about how we can make the international calendar better,” Infantino told the 71st FIFA Congress.