Tuesday, 30th November 2021
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FIFA may abandon biennial World Cup proposal, plans summit December

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has signalled he is willing to step away from the divisive plan to launch a men’s World Cup every two years, reports theguardian.com.

Gianni Infantino, president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has signalled he is willing to step away from the divisive plan to launch a men’s World Cup every two years, reports theguardian.com.

Speaking after a meeting of the Fifa Council, Infantino said he would convene a summit for international federations at which plans for reform of the football calendar would be discussed. But he did not commit to holding a vote on any proposals and said any changes would have to be “for the benefit of everyone.”

Uefa, the governing body of European football, has been vocally opposed to a biennial World Cup, with criticism coming also from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and one of Fifa’s chief sponsors, Adidas.

“We have to see how we can approach the different opinions of different parties,” Infantino said. “We need to look at sporting and economic merits, then we can have a reasoned discussion about World Cups and perhaps other competitions. I do not know what the outcome will be.”

According to insidethegames.biz, FIFA Council has approved a global summit on the international calendar – and principally the proposal to stage World Cups every two years – on December 20.

It said Infantino claimed to be “confident” that a consensus can be reached on the global calendar at the event, but it will not be an Extraordinary Congress, which would have had the power to enact a new calendar.

The Council, which met yesterday, also approved the United Arab Emirates as the replacement host for the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup – which will now be scheduled in early 2022.

Qatari capital Doha has been confirmed as the venue for the next FIFA Congress, on March 31.

“We must re-think the way in which global football is structured,” Infantino – who also claimed his “role is exactly to listen to everyone, to give a voice to every side” – insisted.

The FIFA President thanked Jill Ellis and Arsène Wenger for their work in driving the proposals to host a World Cup every two years.

Wenger is FIFA’s chief of global development, while Ellis heads the FIFA Technical Advisory Group.

Wenger says the existing men’s calendar “doesn’t work anymore and is outdated”, while Ellis has claimed a Women’s World Cup every two years would be capable of “elevating” the women’s game at large.

The next men’s World Cup is due to be hosted in Qatar late next year, before the United States, Mexico and Canada stage the first 48-team World Cup in 2026.

Australia and New Zealand are staging the next Women’s World Cup in 2023, with that the first edition of the event expanded to 32 teams.

“Actually it’s a World Cup every year,” Infantino pointed out, with the men’s event to take place in even years and the women’s in odd-numbered ones under the biennial plans.

Infantino went on to claim World Cups “organised in one country are probably a thing of the past” and touted cross-border bids from both Africa and South America when prompted about the regions.