UEFA has called on FIFA to stop what it sees as its “promotional campaign” in support of biennial World Cups and to consult widely instead.
The executive committee of European football’s governing body met on Wednesday and released a statement warning of the “dangers” it saw in the plans drawn up by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, which would involve a major tournament taking place every summer.
The statement said that despite a request from UEFA’s member associations on September 14 for a special meeting with FIFA to discuss the plans, they had yet to receive a reply.
FIFA said on Monday it was opening a new phase in its consultation process by hosting a virtual summit open to all its national associations on, including those in Europe, September 30.
That is in addition to separate invitations sent by FIFA on September 3 and 4 to stakeholders including all the confederations, the European Club Association, the World Leagues Forum and world players’ union FIFPRO.
UEFA highlighted four key “dangers” in the FIFA proposals – the dilution in the mystique around major tournaments, the erosion of opportunities for weaker teams, the impact on player welfare and on the development of the women’s game, with competitions forced to go head to head in the same summer.
On those dangers, UEFA added in its statement said: “These are just some of the serious concerns that the FIFA proposal provokes at first glance and they cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments.
“In this phase, the respect for a consultation process with the stakeholders – which should be unbiased – would suggest abstaining from promotional campaigns of unilaterally pre-determined concepts that nobody has been given the possibility to see in detail and which have wide-ranging, often unexpected, effects.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has expressed his concerns previously and told The Times earlier this month that European countries could boycott the World Cup if the changes were approved.