UEFA have “serious concerns” over plans to host World Cup every two years



UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has admitted his “serious concerns” over plans to host the World Cup every two years.

In a letter to Football Supporters Europe executive director Ronan Evain seen by the PA news agency, Ceferin described fans’ concerns over FIFA’s proposals as “extremely valid and important”.

The FIFA Congress voted in May to conduct a feasibility study on holding the Men’s and Women’s World Cups every two years after a proposal from the Saudi Football Federation, and Arsene Wenger, the head of the governing body development of world football, was quoted in the French press promoted the idea on Friday.

Ceferin said UEFA and its national associations had “serious reservations and concerns about the information on FIFA plans”.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has expressed “serious concerns” about hosting the World Cup every two years (Niall Carson / PA).

He said there was “widespread astonishment that FIFA appears to be launching a public relations campaign to advance its proposal when such proposals have not been presented to confederations, national associations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches and the whole football community “.

He added: “As one concrete example among many, it is imperative to highlight the concerns shared in the football world regarding the impact that a biennial FIFA World Cup would have on the international calendar of events. matches and, in particular in this context, on women’s football. “

Ceferin was responding to a letter from Evain, also seen by PA, which underlined Football Supporters Europe’s “strong opposition” to World Cup plans and urged UEFA to “challenge them in the interests of the world game”.

Evain said a biennial World Cup would “negatively impact the balance between local, national, continental and international competitions” and “possibly undermine” tournaments like the European Championship and the Copa America.

“What’s more, most fans are looking forward to the World Cup precisely because it’s a one-time event that only takes place every four years,” Evain added, noting that fans don’t have “one. unlimited time, money or enthusiasm to spend on flights, accommodation and tickets – or TV subscriptions ”.

He said: “There is no doubt that football is in desperate need of reform, throughout the UEFA region and beyond. As it stands, the game is uneven, expensive to watch, and, for the millions of people who do not have access to adequate basic facilities, difficult to play. But doubling the number of World Cups will not solve any of these problems. In fact, it will inevitably make them worse.

In his response, Ceferin said: “UEFA fully supports your intentions, in cooperation with supporters’ organizations, to closely examine and take fully into account any developments in this area.”

He added: “UEFA is with you and the fans on this important issue.”

Arsene Wenger is FIFA's Head of Global Football Development
Arsene Wenger is FIFA’s World Football Development Manager (Matt Crossick / PA).

FIFA said on Friday that the World Cup feasibility study had “no predetermined objectives” and that supporters were being consulted “on an unprecedented scale”.

A spokesperson said: “In May, 166 member associations voted to carry out a feasibility study on the impact of playing the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women’s World Cup every two years.

“Under the leadership of Arsène Wenger, FIFA’s Global Football Development Manager, a consultation process is underway and will continue in the coming months with all key stakeholders, including confederations and member associations.

“FIFA encourages everyone to share their views in a spirit of positive dialogue. We note with satisfaction the willingness of stakeholders to discuss the international match schedule and other important issues.

“Fans around the world are being consulted on an unprecedented scale and FIFA will release the results in due course. The aim of the consultation is to conduct a comprehensive analysis taking into account the diverse views and interests of world football.

“There are no predetermined goals and FIFA is open-minded looking for better solutions for the common good of the game.”


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