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FIFA Proposes Biennial World Cup after Qatar 2022

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By Martin Graham | 22nd Feb 2022

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has proposed a biennial World Cup starting from the summer of 2028 after the inter-federational World Cup which will be held by the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.

In its 92-year history, the World Cup has been held every four years. Infantino is looking to change this tradition with his proposal to hold the global showpiece every two years.

The proposal has seen a lot of debate, discussions and backlash from fans, players, coaches and entire continental governing bodies taking different sides on how the global showpiece should be approached.

Infantino reportedly has the support of 166 of the 210 members of the FIFA Association to host the World Cup every two years.

The European football governing body, UEFA, is the biggest opponent of Infantino’s vision of changing the World Cup format.

As the discussions continue, Infantino will also propose an increase in the participating teams from 32 to 48. This proposed change, Infantino claims, is to allow countries who have never experienced the World Cup participate in the global showpiece and also help them gain access to funds to better their football.

Infantino also believes that when a vote is scheduled, the other nations who have not declared their support will come on board with this idea as he believes it helps football develop.

What is FIFA’s and Infantino’s proposal?

FIFA released a comprehensive report on December 22 to all its member associations that outline the benefits of a biennial World Cup.

The eye-catcher in the report was that a biennial World Cup generates $4.4 billion in additional revenue over the current format which takes place every four years.

This extra revenue will be favourable for less privileged associations as an average of $16 million will be made available for these associations.

FIFA also claims that the GDP of the host country will increase by an astronomical $180 million and see between two and four million jobs created every time the World Cup is to be hosted.

The plan is spearheaded by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is currently the head of global football development at FIFA.

Most importantly, FIFA believes that a biennial World Cup will help them get closer to fans to get a better experience of how the sport is viewed in various countries in order to make a more global game which is not controlled by the big corporations.

UEFA opposition to the proposal

UEFA is the biggest body opposing the biennial World Cup plan from FIFA. The European football governing body released their own counter statement claiming that European member associations could stand to lose between $2 and 3 billion if the biennial World Cup plan is accepted.

UEFA also cited the growing interest in the female football game as a potential casualty of the biennial World Cup. Interest in women’s football has seen a surge in recent years, with clubs all around the world developing their female academies and bringing forth some pretty interesting female football competitions.

However, if the biennial World Cup proposal is accepted, it will see the spotlight being taken away from female football, returning it to the dark ages it used to be in once again.

UEFA’s major rebuttal is the fact that the biennial World Cup could mean that the current format of the Euro tournament will also have to change.

FIFA proposes that with the change to the World Cup format, continental football will also have to change format. Only three confederations currently play their continental competitions every 4 years: UEFA, the Asian Football Federation and CONMEBOL.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) and other confederations already adopt a biennial tournament format which FIFA believes is great for advancing football.

FIFA’s response to UEFA’s concerns

Infantino noted all the concerns which Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president, brought forward in his rebuttal statement.

In response to the billion-dollar losses Ceferin claims UEFA member bodies will suffer as a result of the biennial World Cup, Infantino said that FIFA would establish a $3.5 billion solidarity fund to help member bodies and clubs stay afloat in such a situation.

Infantino also claims that the funds generated from a biennial World Cup will help organisations such as CAF to be able to keep their best players on their continents.

CAF loses its best players to immigration every year and Infantino, who is a big fan of African football, is hoping that football in Africa develops enough to attract its star players to Africa’s biggest and best clubs.

As a result, CAF has thrown its weight behind Infantino, claiming that they will support a biennial World Cup 100 percent if the FIFA study is proven to be feasible.

CONCACAF also supports a biennial World Cup with the president of the North American Football Association even suggesting some tweaks and changes to the current plans which Infantino presented before all its member nations and confederations.

The next FIFA Congress is set for March 2022 in Doha, Qatar where the 2022 World Cup will be discussed and where infantino will also present some more plants to its member Nations on the proposed biennial World Cup.

He will also outline the plans for the expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams which will kick off in the 2026 World Cup in USA, Mexico and Canada.

However there are no plans according to reports for a vote to be held on whether the biennial World Cup will begin in 2028 or not.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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