A majority of fans support the idea of a biennial World Cup, according to a survey commissioned by FIFA.
This claim has been made by FIFA despite the vast majority of UEFA member associations stating their opposition to any plans to hold a World Cup every two years.
The world governing body has developed plans to shorten the gap between its showpiece event from four years to two, with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger championing the changes.
The Football Supporters Europe group is opposed to the idea and wrote to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who replied to say he had “grave concerns” about the plans and has since told The Times European countries could boycott the World Cup if the change is made.
All 55 UEFA member associations held a routine virtual meeting on Tuesday and they discussed FIFA’s proposal for a new international match calendar that incorporates a World Cup finals tournament every two years.
After the meeting, Ceferin wrote to FIFA president Gianni Infantino to request an urgent meeting to discuss the proposals.
However, FIFA says globally there is support for the plan, and said the enthusiasm was greatest among younger fans in “developing markets” outside Europe.
“A survey has provided feedback as part of the feasibility study regarding the frequency of the men’s FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said in a statement.
“The findings of this online survey, conducted in July 2021, will be used as part of a wider consultation process involving fans, which will take place over several phases.
“Fifteen thousand respondents were identified as expressing an interest in football and the FIFA World Cup, from a broader market research survey involving 23,000 people in 23 countries, across six confederations, commissioned via IRIS and YouGov, independent industry experts.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he opposes plans to play a World Cup every two years because of the extra demands it will place on players
FIFA said the results of an expanded survey involving over 100,000 people in more than 100 countries is under way and would be published in due course.