The World Cup, held every two years, will be discussed by footballers on Friday when FIFA is holding its most recent congress. Saudi Arabia’s Football Federation has proposed on the agenda of the last summit of the global governing body, which is close to FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Discussions of a possible “feasibility study” of a World Cup every two years instead of four are likely to have affected national leagues and clubs, given the players’ exhaustion in an already filled calendar.
This comes after FIFA football development chief Arsène Wenger suggested in March that the World Cup, European Championship and other international tournaments take place every two years. It was an idea immediately dubbed “unreal” by the European League, a body that groups 37 leagues and club associations in Europe, but which is still listed in a Wenger report and published last week.
According to CIES Football Observatory chief Dr. Raffaele Poli, clubs risk hurting their players more with such a dense schedule, while the economic benefits are also uncertain. “We should be aware of the risk of making a product less reputable, making it less scarce,” Poli told AFP.
Poli also warned that the proliferation of international tournaments would lose the value of broadcast rights to both domestic championships and continental club competitions. As usual, Infantino remained unclear about the concept at the end of March, stating that he was open to any ideas for the post-2024 football calendar and “interesting discussions about Wenger’s proposals earlier this month.”
Their priority is to make way for an expanded 24-team World Cup, which Europe protested was put on ice by UEFA and the South American governing bodies CONMEBOL and the COVID-19 epidemic. Changes in the Uefa Champions League, which will take effect in 2024, will add 100 games to the European football calendar, and Poli suggests the club used the World Cup proposal as a “negotiating position” to make way for the World Cup.