Arsene Wenger proposed the idea to hold the World Cup every two years and this plan has been widely criticized, but he insists it is in the best interests of the game. FIFA’s chief of global football development – Wenger is the face of a campaign to change the game’s calendar, with the Frenchman seeking influential support while also facing serious opposition.
In order to push through plans for the World Cup to be held every two years, Arsene Wenger is “willing to take that risk”. The legendary Arsenal manager has proposed that this football tournament be held every two years and that international breaks be reduced throughout the year.
The plan has been strongly opposed by other governing bodies while FIFA claims that the majority of supporters want the tournament to be held more frequently. CONMEBOL, which represents South American football federations, argued that a change “could distort the world’s most important football competition.” Meanwhile, UEFA, the governing body of European football, is concerned that among other negative consequences the proposals will lead to player burnout.
Wenger, on the other hand, is not backing down and believes his suggestion will only benefit the sport in the long run. “The risk is to make football better, and I’m ready to take that gamble,” he told BBC Sport as reported in football news. “The international match calendar is fixed until 2024. Until then, nothing can change. I’ve been guided by a few ideas to propose a plan to reshape the international calendar.”
“The first one is to make football better all over the world. The second one is to have a more modern way and more simple way to organise the calendar. Therefore, I want to reduce the number of qualifiers and to regroup the qualifying periods. I’d agree with what I propose because I think for the club it’s much better,” he said. “There’s no interference during the season. I suffered a lot from interference during the season.”
Wenger, who left Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years at the club, insisted he would have backed the plans even had he still been a club manager. “It’s not about me, it is about the proposal to make football better, clearer, more simple and more meaningful to the world. I am convinced that the clubs gain in it because they can focus completely, they have their players available for the whole season and the national teams benefit from it as well.”
“There’s no increase of a number of games, there’s a better rest period, less travelling and more quality competition. That’s why I think this project is really defendable. Yesterday I was in a very long meeting with [players union] FIFPRO, we consult everybody. We are conscious that we need to talk to everybody. I think I’ve convinced FIFPRO that in my programme the players were my first worry.”
Wenger also rejected the argument that the World Cup will be devalued by being held every two years. “The World Cup’s such a huge event that I don’t think it will diminish the prestige,” he said. “You want to be the best in the world, and you want to be the best in the world every year. I’m not on an ego trip. I’ve been asked to help to shape the calendar of tomorrow, I consult the whole world.”