Football news – UEFA says FIFA proposal for World Cup every two years presents ‘real dangers’ to football

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UEFA has once again criticised FIFA’s proposal for a World Cup every two years, saying it presents “real dangers” to the sport.

In his role as chief of global football development, former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is heading up a study looking into the prospect of a biennial World Cup rather than having it played every four years.

The governing body released a statement earlier in the month claiming the majority of fans were in favour increasing the frequency of World Cups.

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While FIFA says fans are in favour, the proposal has not been met with widespread approval from figures within the game.

UEFA and the European Leagues – which represents the continent’s divisions, including the Premier League – are among the bodies to have pushed back on the idea.

European football’s governing body has issued a statement making clear its opposition to the proposals, and called on FIFA to open lines of communication.

The statement read: “UEFA is disappointed with the methodology adopted, which has so far led to radical reform projects being communicated and openly promoted before having been given, together with other stakeholders, the chance to participate in any consultation meeting.

“There are real dangers associated with this plan: the dilution of the value of the number one world football event, whose quadrennial occurrence gives it a mystique that generations of fans have grown up with.

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“The erosion of sporting opportunities for the weaker national teams by replacing regular matches with final tournaments; the risk to sustainability for players, forced to engage in summer high intensity competitions every year instead of longer recuperation breaks in alternate years.

“These are just some of the serious concerns that the FIFA proposal provokes at first glance and they cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments.

“UEFA is of the opinion that the future of the international calendar should be the subject of genuine consultation and exchange between FIFA, the confederations and key stakeholders of competitions.

“Kicking off with an open discussion on perceived problems and considering a range of solutions that will be identified in the course of the debate, taking into account the interest of the game and the legitimate point of view of the different parties.

“In this phase, the respect for a consultation process with the stakeholders – which should be unbiased – would suggest abstaining from promotional campaigns of unilaterally pre-determined concepts that nobody has been given the possibility to see in detail and which have wide-ranging, often unexpected, effects.

“On 14 September, UEFA and its 55 member associations asked FIFA to organise a special meeting with them to be able to voice their concerns on the impact of such plans. UEFA and its 55 member associations have to date not yet received a reply from FIFA on this request.”

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