Arsene Wenger: "(There has been) demand from the federations to keep the original number of games because they sell the qualifiers and they think the drop of income will be too big for them"
Thursday 25 November 2021 10:24, UK
FIFA is considering adapting its international calendar proposals following concerns over the financial impact of reducing the number of international qualifying matches, Arsene Wenger has revealed.
FIFA's chief of global football development is overseeing a consultation process on proposed changes to the international match calendar in men's football from 2024, which includes the controversial plan to hold a World Cup every two years.
Wenger revealed the developments during FIFA's Professional Football Conference, which included leagues and clubs from around the world.
"The feedback we got is that one single October window is considered too extreme," he said, during the virtual conference from FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
"(There has been) demand from the federations to keep the original number of games because they sell the qualifiers and they think the drop of income will be too big for them.
"The smaller nations also said if you reduce the number of qualifiers and we do not qualify for the big tournaments, we have fewer opportunities to compete as with the current format.
"Everybody says the status quo is not accepted. We want a change. So what can we do?
"Looking at the federations demanding for more qualifiers than we proposed initially, we could add option three. That means in the initial proposal, for example, in option two you had four games in October and three games in March. We could play six games in October and two games in March and two games in preparation for the final tournament in June."
In May, 166 associations in world football voted for a feasibility study into a biennial World Cup in the men's and women's game.
UEFA has strongly criticised the proposals, which have been welcomed by other associations in the game.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he would like a "consensus" on the calendar to be presented at a global summit on December 20.
"It is sporting motivations that are guiding us," he said at a news conference last month. "Not the financial, but sporting motivations. It is really important to listen to all the questions."