The German and Portuguese soccer federations have publicly criticized proposals to host the Men’s World Cup every two years as FIFA’s world governing body continues with its planned reforms.
FIFA has proposed that the game’s flagship tournament take place every two years, cutting the current four-year cycle in half.
On Thursday, FIFA published the results of an initial survey in which it said “the majority” of supporters wanted the World Cup to take place more often than every four years.
The survey, conducted by IRIS and YouGov, showed that 45% of 15,008 respondents wanted the World Cup to continue every four years.
This compares to 30% of those polled saying they are in favor of the World Cup being held every two years.
UEFA expresses serious concerns
FIFA said “an expanded investigation, involving more than 100,000 people in more than 100 countries, is currently underway.”
He said the survey would balance “things like population, geographic diversity, football history and potential” and cover the frequency of the Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
A separate YouGov survey of 1,000 football supporters in the UK found that 21 percent of those polled were in favor of the proposals, with 64 percent either somewhat or strongly opposed to the plan.
UEFA Europe and the CONMEBOL federations of South America have both expressed serious concerns about the proposals.
“UEFA and its national associations… have serious reservations and serious concerns regarding information on FIFA plans,” UEFA President Aleksandr Ceferin said earlier this month.
Now, the German football association, DFB, has warned that the plans will mean players will be at higher risk for injury and women’s competitions will be eclipsed.
Women’s tournaments risk being overshadowed, player well-being highlighted
The DFB said any plans to double the frequency of the Men’s World Cup could come at the expense of the visibility of the Women’s World Cup.
The Women’s World Cup is currently held in odd-numbered years and avoids clashes with major men’s tournaments.
Australia is expected to host the next edition of the tournament in 2023 with New Zealand.
The DFB has said that a two-year World Cup cycle could potentially force the continental championships – the European Championships, the Asian Cup or the Copa America – to change, clashing with the Women’s World Cup.
“If a Men’s World Cup or European Championship were to take place every summer, the women’s and junior tournaments would be marginalized in the shadow of men’s competitions,” said the DFB.
The DFB also said that the increased “physical and mental strain” on the players “would lead to a significant increase in the risk of injury”.
The Portuguese federation, the FPF, has expressed similar concerns.
They listed 10 reasons to reject the plans, including the impact on players’ mental and physical health, the overlap of men’s and women’s competitions, the impact on youth competitions and the “clear saturation” of the rights market. television and commercial.
However, FIFA said part of the proposals would be to reduce the number of international windows throughout the season to one or two blocks of a month, thereby reducing the burden of travel and allowing greater cohesion within international teams.
Who exactly is in favor of the plans?
The discussion on the possibility of a biennial World Cup was sparked by a proposal by the Saudi Football Federation at the FIFA congress in May.
The instigation of a feasibility study was supported by 166 of FIFA’s 211 national federations, with support mainly from the African (CAF) and Asian (AFC) confederations.
Earlier this month, at a two-day summit in Doha, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Global Development Chief Arsene Wenger led reform talks with a group of former players.
These former players, including Socceroo Tim Cahill, all supported the proposals.
“When you have 166 countries asking for the feasibility [study], it’s really important that everyone can do their due diligence and add some context. “
Other players included Brazilian legend Ronaldo and European Championship-winning goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, who said he believed “everyone was on board” with an increase in frequency every two years .
Doubling the frequency of the World Cup would also provide a huge financial boost to FIFA, whose main source of income is associated with the World Cup.
Any decision is expected to be taken at the FIFA Congress in December, and any changes will take effect from 2028.
The next Men’s World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022, the last tournament that will bring together 32 teams.
In 2018, Infantino claimed that “the majority” of associations were in favor of extending the 2022 tournament to 48 teams, but relented after “a thorough and comprehensive consultation process.”
The 2026 tournament in Mexico, Canada and the United States will be the first to feature an expanded roster of 48 teams.
ABC / son