UEFA president Ceferin rallies against a World Cup every two years

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin rallies against hosting a World Cup every two years, claiming it would ‘dilute the tournament’ as FIFA considers narrowing the four-year gap

  • FIFA is assessing the option of holding the World Cup once every two years
  • The move comes following a request from the Saudi Arabian FA back in May
  • But UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is not in favour of the proposals  

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has again underlined his opposition to World Cups every two years, saying the tournament’s rarity is its most attractive quality.

FIFA is holding a feasibility study into shortening the gap between men’s and women’s World Cups from four to two years, following a request from the Saudi Arabian federation in May which was approved by 166 national associations.

Ceferin admitted in a letter to a fans’ group last week to having ‘grave concerns’ at the plans, which have been endorsed by FIFA’s head of global development Arsene Wenger.

France won the last World Cup, which was held over three years ago in Russia in 2018

The UEFA chief said at the opening of the European Club Association (ECA) General Assembly on Monday: ‘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 dilute the World Cup itself. We think there is a space for everything and both national teams and clubs are fully occupying that physical and commercial space.’ 

Ceferin also highlighted his concerns over the impact on players, adding: ‘They don’t need to see more of their summers spent on consuming tournaments rather than devoted to relaxing and recuperation.’

ECA chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi also called for ‘honest engagement’ on the international match calendar and not ‘unilateral decisions’.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted the ECA clubs, and all of football’s stakeholders, would be consulted but insisted there was overwhelming evidence for a need to alter the calendar.

‘There are no taboo topics, the door of FIFA is open to any idea to any proposal,’ he said in a recorded address to the assembly.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin dislikes plans for a World Cup to be held every two years

‘We shouldn’t take this consultation process as any sort of challenge, any sort of fight, as I’ve been hearing here and there.

‘It is simply a way to try to make football, and global football, strong, and for this we need the help and the assistance of everyone. 

‘We are, and we will be, approaching you and we hope we can find something which suits, of course, the European clubs but also the clubs from all over the world, the associations from all over the world.’

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