FIFA will be considering the possibility of holding the World Cup every two years instead of four, for both the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The body will be launching a feasibility study into the ramifications of such a move after a proposal was brought to light by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) at the annual congress.
The next edition of the World Cup will be played next year in Qatar while the women’s tournament will go ahead in 2023 in Australia/New Zealand.
“We believe the future of football is at a critical juncture. The many issues that football has faced have now been further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. It is important to review how the global game is structured, which should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimum basis for how football is managed both from a competition and a commercial perspective as well as overall football development,” SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal was quoted as saying.
“Having fewer yet more meaningful competitive national team matches could potentially address concerns regarding player welfare whilst at the same time enhancing the value and merit of such competitions,” he added.
However, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that the investigation would not be rushed.
“We have to go into these studies with an open mind but we are not going to take decisions which will jeopardise what we are [already] doing. We know about the value of the World Cup, believe me,” said Infantino.
“I would like to put this discussion in a much broader context, that of the international match calendar. Are we really convinced that playing qualifying games [across the year] is the right way when we are saying that fans want more meaningful games?
“All these points have to be considered. But we will put the sporting element as the top priority, not the commercial element,” he added.
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