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FIFA’s proposed Biannual World Cup baseless, says ex-Green Eagles star, Adelabu

By Gowon Akpodonor
10 September 2021   |   3:26 am
Former Green Eagles star, Adegoke Adelabu, has described the proposed biennial World Cup by FIFA as bereft of scientific, psychological, technical, and developmental reasoning...

Euro Leagues also kick against proposal

Former Green Eagles star, Adegoke Adelabu, has described the proposed biennial World Cup by FIFA as bereft of scientific, psychological, technical, and developmental reasoning.

“It is purely an economic manipulation of football lovers and sponsors,” Adelabu said in a message to The Guardian yesterday. “The central motive is greed on the part of FIFA,” he added.

Adelabu said: “If FIFA administrators have run out of ideas, they should allow the World Cup to remain the way it is rather than technically strangulating the developing nations of the world who are still battling or recuperating from their leagues and continental competitions,” he stated.

According to the former IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan star: “It takes an average of five good years to produce a good player and bring a good team together. The implication of the biennial World Cup is that we will be recycling those players in the big leagues across the world. There will not be enough practice time to come up with new tactics and strategies. Many big leagues will be unable to make effective use of their professional players because they will have to travel back to their countries for qualifying matches.

“In Nigeria, many times, we have to wait for almost 22 players from Europe to form a team and we are not talking about the financial implications to bring these players down, lodge them in good hotels, and pay their allowances. That is why we always owe our players allowances and many times they feel frustrated to come and play for us.”

The former Manager of Eko United FC said it would be difficult for FIFA to proffer any scientific reason for the proposal other than the greed to make more money and lower the standard of the competition.

“We need to think about great players who get injured and how long it will take them to recover in places like Africa. Currently, we have enough football competitions across the world to cater to hungry crowds in each country across the world and FIFA has no right to cancel any football competition across the world because each of those competitions has a profound psychological impact on the sovereignty of each nation. We don’t have to be affiliated with FIFA to organise football competitions and this is where I think FIFA’s monopolistic tendencies have to stop.

Speaking further, Adelabu, a sports scientist said: “There are other important innovations that FIFA can inject into her administrative structures and the game rather than increasing the burdens of the nation through a compressed football timetable that brings in good money but substandard performances from the players.

“My submission is simple and it is based on the profound scientific implication of the proposed biennial timetable, which may be an oversight on the part of FIFA. It is erroneous for FIFA to assume that the World Cup should take priority over every other football competition across the world. Contrarily, the World Cup is to bring to the global stage or showcase every four years, the great (new) players, football tactics, strategies, advanced equipment, new sports injury management, new medications, etc.

“Hence, the World Cup should be dedicated to showcasing the advancement in the football industry in both human and material ramifications, and not to compete with the nation’s leagues since FIFA does not own any player. The FIFA biannual competition should be totally rejected by football federations of the world.”

Adelabu’s submission comes on a day European Leagues, the body representing professional club competitions on the continent, unanimously opposed the proposals for a biennial World Cup.

According to ESPN, the association in a statement yesterday said: “The Leagues will work together with the other stakeholders to prevent football governing bodies to take unilateral decisions that will harm domestic football which is the foundation of our industry.”

Following a proposal by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation in May, FIFA is carrying out a feasibility study into the practicalities of altering the World Cup cycle from four years to two, meaning that continental championships (like the Gold Cup, European Championship, and Copa America) would be sandwiched in the alternate years.

“New competitions, revamped competitions, or expanded competitions for club and national team football both at continental level and/or at the global level are not the solutions to the current problems of our game in an already congested calendar,” added the European Leagues statement.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Wednesday said there were too many “meaningless international games” and such a system was unhealthy for the sport, adding that a new men’s calendar is likely to be introduced by the end of 2024 when the current cycle ends.