FIFA has once again stood firm on its plans to reform how often the World Cup is played. At a meeting of its 211 members, where they discussed the future of football, delegates were told of the striking benefit of introducing a biennial World Cup.
FIFA Stands Firm on Biennial World Cup Reform
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been pushing for a World Cup every two years since Saudi Arabia formally proposed the concept in May.
As a part of greater research into the proposal, independent consultants found that a biennial World Cup will raise revenue by £3.3 billion, causing a jump from £5.3 billion to £8.6 billion. Delegates were told that £2.6 billion would be put into a fund, allowing national associations to receive an extra £12.1 million each.
For the countries that are incredibly unlikely to compete in a World Cup any time soon, this will be the type of material that gets them onside with the idea. The method of distribution, however, was not mentioned.
In September, Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, rejected the idea that the proposal is about money.
“We have not even looked at that,” Wenger told BBC Sport. “I started in my office to think how… can I reorganise the international match calendar and try to, at the same time, make football better.
He added: “My proposal is purely based on football.”
A new survey conducted by “external experts” for FIFA supported the governing bodies September findings that fans are in favour of more World Cups for both men’s and women’s. The strongest disapproval for both ideas came from England, Germany and France, while the likes of India, Vietnam and Turkey were strongly in favour.
“In some countries, you have the World Cup twice per week because you have the best players in the world playing there,” Infantino said.
“In other countries, regions, even continents, you do not see the World Cup, the best players, in one life, in one generation. We need to think about all these elements as we move forward.”
The FIFA president also persisted with the argument that the young generation wants to see World Cups more often, and that the studies are evidence of this.
To counter FIFA’s findings, UEFA published their own report of how a biennial World Cup will damage European football and fans from within Europe or the rest of the world, are in fact not in favour. In addition, the report, conducted by external consultants, forecasted a potential loss of between £2.1 billion and £6 billion over four years.
In November, the World Leagues Forum said that domestic leagues and UEFA could lose an estimated £6.8 billion per season in commercial agreements.
UEFA have strengthened ties with their new ally COMNEBOL, the South American federation, due to their united stance against the biennial World Cup. The pair have built relations quickly enough that they have introduced a Finalissima between the winners of the European Championships and the Copa America. Brazil and Argentina are also thought to participate in the European Nations League from 2024.
International Window Resolution
Away from the biennial Word Cup, one part of Arsene Wenger’s plan was met with significant opposition. His scheduling reforms recommended reducing the number of international windows to just two.
Delegates at the meeting did not agree and it is now likely a resolution of at least three international windows will be put forward for the match calendar post-2024. If three windows were to be agreed upon, international matches will be held in October, March and June.