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Wenger to meet Rohr, other national team coaches over two-yearly World Cup

By Ifeanyi Ibeh
18 October 2021   |   12:20 pm
Arsène Wenger, the head of global football development at FIFA, will meet this week with Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr and other men’s national team coaches to discuss reforms to the international calendar from 2024 and the controversial proposal to play the World Cup every two years. Wenger is the frontman for the plan that…

Gernot Rohr poses with Arsene Wenger during the former’s visit to London’s Emirates Stadium. Photo: NFF

Arsène Wenger, the head of global football development at FIFA, will meet this week with Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr and other men’s national team coaches to discuss reforms to the international calendar from 2024 and the controversial proposal to play the World Cup every two years.

Wenger is the frontman for the plan that has angered UEFA and CONMEBOL, the European and South American governing bodies, together with many bodies, clubs, managers, players and fans.

Critics of the scheme worry about the dilution of the World Cup’s special value and the increased strain that a two-yearly World Cup could put on players, along with many other issues.

The European Club Association also said it is willing to “engage” with FIFA over potential changes to the international calendar but has hit out at world football’s governing body for its attempts to introduce a biennial World Cup.

The Nigerian Football Federation and CAF, Africa’s governing body, however, have no qualms with the move initiated by the former Arsenal coach who remains determined to force it through as he looks to persuade people that change is inevitable and necessary.

The Frenchman will also look to persuade critics that a biennial World Cup represents the future and his talks with the coaches are a part of that push. The calls will be online and will take place on Tuesday and Thursday.

The proposals, including a suggestion by Wenger to have only one international window each year, are set to be voted on in December by FIFA’s 211 member associations.

In 2018, long before Wenger’s proposals, FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, proposed staging what would effectively be a mini-World Cup, featuring eight international teams, every two years in addition to the traditional event.

The tournament, to be known as the “Final 8”, would be the climax of a proposed global Nations League competition, part of an ambitious plan to reform international football, which FIFA believes could be worth $25 billion in a 12-year cycle.