It’s boiling over in world football. FIFA plans to reform the World Cup and wants a tournament every two years. But this doesn’t particularly appeal to UEFA, which strikes back to strike. Controversy is likely to escalate.
FIFA is planning a revolution in the world championship. The World Football Federation favors a World Cup every two years, currently the rhythm is still four years old. It has also initiated a feasibility study for the project, the neutrality of which has been questioned. President Gianni Infantino is currently soliciting approval and has also received help from more than 80 former coaches and players who act as “consultants” to support his plans. Three of them were former German national players: Sami Khedira, Lothar Matthaus and Jürgen Klinsmann. It remains to be seen how big the actual volume of advice was.
However, the planned effect is clear: the big names must convince fans that the World Cup is a great idea. FIFA director Arsene Wenger is certain that the World Cup every two years is “what the fans want” anyway.
But the idea is controversial. The football calendar is already bursting at the seams. It is enough work for the leagues to include the Winter World Cup 2022 in the game plan. And it doesn’t get any easier, as more and more games are being added. Be it through new competitions such as conference leagues with their own qualifying rounds or changes within the league. National and international associations want to make as much money as possible from football. Players have reached their limits. Some coaches like Jurgen Klopp or Christian Stritch raised their voice against it.
Ceferin. headwind from
FIFA is still continuing with its plans. There are economic reasons for this. The World Federation generates about 90 percent of its income through tournaments. Sales went through the roof in the World Cup years. In 2018, FIFA’s turnover was US$4.6 billion (equivalent to approximately 3.9 million euros), compared to only US$267 million in 2020, which corresponds to 225 million euros.
FIFA sales over the years. Worth noting: in World Cup years and shortly before, sales tend to increase, then they decrease. (Source: Statista)
The rights to the World Championships until 2032 have already been sold. In other tournaments, even in non-EM years, FIFA can generate new income.
But there is competition in those non-European championship years – from UEFA. As is well known, the European Football Association hosts the European Championship there. UEFA boss Ceferin reacted of course: “We (European countries, editor’s note) may decide not to participate,” he told the “Times” and added: “As far as I know South Americans are going too – luckily a World Cup like this one. I think it will never happen because it goes against the fundamentals of football.”
He also emphasized: “The value really lies in the fact that the World Cup is held every four years. You wait for it, it’s like the Olympic Games – a big event. I think our association supports it.” Doesn’t. I hope they do what FIFA regains consciousness.” The proposal “will kill football”.
Africa and Asia for it, South America against it
As Ceferin indicated, there is little support from South America as well. The Conmebol Association emphasizes that the current model is the best. In a vote, FIFA may still win because Europe and South America will not be in the majority, but they are undoubtedly the most important federation as they are the top nations.
Infantino cannot be deterred from this, however, as it is currently soliciting votes from individual continental federations. According to the AP news agency, the Club World Cup, for example, could take place in South Africa, which would please the African Football Association CAF. So it is not surprising that he also gave his approval for the new World Cup format.
Patrice Motsepe, the new president of the CAF, speaks in favor of the FIFA line. (Source: Pacific Press Agency / Imago Images)
Asian association AFC followed suit on Tuesday as well. “The AFC welcomes the extensive consultation process initiated by FIFA to examine options for adapting the new international sporting calendar with the feasibility of the World Cup every two years instead of the current four-year interval.” It continues: “The AFC has a clear ambition that Asian teams and players can shine through world-class competitions on the biggest stages in the world.”
On the other hand South America and Europe, Africa and Asia side. This is the current situation. Still no clear signal from North and Central America (Concacaf). But FIFA could benefit from hosting the 2026 World Cup in the US, Canada and Mexico. Because these three countries are arguably the most influential of the CONCACAF. Less than five years before the World Cup, no one here needs a bad relationship with FIFA.
But even if FIFA has the majority of votes, the World Cup will fail without the participation of European and South American countries. But Infantino is known for his tenacity. The final word in the fight for World Cup reform has not yet been spoken.
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