CONCACAF and Asian Football Confederation open to FIFA's biennial World Cup proposal

FIFA's congress voted to carry out a feasibility study on holding the men's and women's World Cups every two years, a proposal which has been met with opposition, but CONCACAF has asked for wider consultation with stakeholders

The World Cup is currently held once every four years but FIFA are looking at options to make it biennial
Image: The World Cup is currently held once every four years but FIFA are looking at options to make it biennial

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have confirmed they are open to the idea of a biennial World Cup.

FIFA's congress voted to carry out a feasibility study on holding the men's and women's World Cups every two years, a proposal which has been met with opposition, but CONCACAF has asked for wider consultation with stakeholders.

In a statement released on their official website, the governing body said it recognised the merits of creating a new schedule if it meant fewer international windows, less travel for players and more competitive games instead of friendlies.

"We will continue to look at these proposals constructively, with an open mind, and in the spirit of positive engagement," CONCACAF said in their statement.

"While CONCACAF's immediate focus is on its own region, we also believe in the importance of being part of the global football family and we will listen to the views of football stakeholders in all parts of the world.

"We encourage not only our fellow Confederations but also all members of the global football family to come together and work collaboratively to create FIFA calendars and competitions that have benefits for the development of the game in all regions across the world."

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said that the international calendar needs examination and there are too many 'meaningless matches'.

The Asian Football Confederation says it "welcomes" the feasibility study being carried out by FIFA.

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A statement from the organisation read: "The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) welcomes the extensive consultation process initiated and led by FIFA in examining the options to optimise the new International Match Calendar by looking into the feasibility of a FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup every two years instead of the current four-year interval, as mandated by the Member Associations, which include the AFC's Members at the 71st FIFA Congress on 21 May 2021."

The region is currently guaranteed four automatic spots and an intercontinental play-off slot for the men's 2022 World Cup, alongside tournament hosts Qatar.

Last week, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) criticised the proposal, saying it was "highly unviable" and would overwhelm the football calendar.

European soccer's governing body UEFA also rejected the idea, with its president Aleksander Ceferin warning that European nations could boycott the World Cup if FIFA's plans to make the event biennial go ahead.

A new YouGov poll showed almost two-thirds of Britons are opposed to having a World Cup every two years, with 40 per cent of the 1,000 fans surveyed saying they were strongly opposed and another 24 per cent 'somewhat opposed'.

Only 21 per cent supported the plan, including only eight per cent strongly in favour.

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FIFA head of global development Arsene Wenger says there has been a 'positive overall response' to proposals to make the World Cup every two years.

Wenger: Current calendar is outdated

Arsene Wenger is conducting the feasibility study at the request of 166 football associations.

The proposed changes to the international calendar would mean a major finals every year, alternating between World Cups in even years and the continental finals such as the European Championship and the Copa America in odd years.

Within it, FIFA proposes to cut the number of international windows in a season to one or at most two, in October and March, with no national team playing any more than seven matches including playoffs.

Wenger said the current calendar was "outdated, not practical and not efficient" and said as a former club manager he would jump at the changes.

"I tried to create a calendar that is clear, simple to understand and that is modern, that means a better separation between club football and federation," the Frenchman said.

"By respecting this 80-20 per cent of balance, I believe, if I was in a club I would sign with both hands for that programme.

"It would give me time to have the players and get the focus on what is important for the club. Overall I would say the better separation between club and national team football would improve the quality of concentration on both sides."

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