UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin and European Clubs’ Association (ECA) chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi reject the idea of a biennial World Cup, with the former saying it would “dilute” what makes the tournament so special.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is leading a consultation process on holding a World Cup every two years in his role as FIFA’s director of development.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and European Clubs’ Association (ECA) chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi reject the idea of a biennial World Cup, with the former saying it would “dilute” what makes the tournament so special.
“What people want today are high-stakes, easy-to-understand competitions,” he said last week while insisting there’s “no financial intention” behind the proposal.
However, Ceferin and Al-Khelaifi, who also serves as Paris Saint-Germain president, shot down Wenger’s proposal at the ECA’s General Assembly in Geneva on Monday.
“You have probably heard that FIFA is conducting a feasibility study about the World Cup every two years,” Ceferin said, according to The Guardian’s Sean Ingle. “Well, we think that the jewel of the World Cup has value precisely because of its rarity. Holding it every two years will lead to less legitimacy, and it will unfortunately dilute the World Cup itself.”
He added: “Our players don’t need to see more of their summers spent at tournaments rather than devoted to relaxation and recuperation.”
Al-Khelaifi said FIFA’s potential reform of the international calendar needs “honest engagement, not unilateral and self-interested decisions” before noting that changes could put “players’ health and well-being at risk – and the clubs bear all the risk.”
“International competition cannot suffocate fans’ and players’ connections to clubs, without which international competition wouldn’t exist,” he added.
Both the women’s and men’s editions of the World Cup are held every four years, with the former beginning in 1991 and the latter starting in 1930 (with the exception of 1942 and 1946 due to World War Two).
Wenger told beIN SPORTS in March that the UEFA Nations League and other “parallel competitions” should be scrapped to make room for “games with meaning,” according to BBC Sport’s Simon Stone.