World Cup: UEFA to oppose FIFA plans for tournament to be held every two years instead of four

FIFA's chief of global football development Arsene Wenger is the driving force behind plans to hold a World Cup finals every two years instead of four; UEFA are against the idea, with president Aleksandr Ceferin unhappy with how the proposals have been promoted

FILE - In this Sunday, July 15, 2018 file photo, France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France won 4-2 during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. World Cup winner France reclaims the No. 1 spot in the FIFA rankings for the first time in 16 years after defeating Croatia 4-2 for its second World Cup title and jumped up six places. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Image: UEFA are unhappy with proposed changes to the World Cup schedule. France won the last men's World Cup in 2018

UEFA will come out strongly next week against plans by FIFA to hold a World Cup finals every two years.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin spelled out his opposition to the biennial finals in a response to a letter from fans group Football Supporters Europe.

Ceferin said UEFA has "serious reservations and grave concerns surrounding reports of FIFA's plans".

"Considering the major impact this reform may have on the whole organisation of football, there is widespread astonishment that FIFA appears to be launching a PR campaign to push its proposal whilst any such proposals haven't been presented to confederations, national associations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches, clubs and all the football community," the letter read.

Aleksander Ceferin
Image: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin does not like how FIFA have promoted the proposal

FIFA's chief of global football development Arsene Wenger is the driving force behind the plans which would need to be voted on by the 211 national football federations and associations which make up FIFA's congress.

Football's world governing body is carrying out a feasibility study into the proposal put forward by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.

"In May, 166 member associations voted to carry out a feasibility study on the impact of playing the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women`s World Cup every two years. Under the leadership of Arsene Wenger, FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development, a consultation process is ongoing and will continue in the coming months with all key stakeholders, including confederations and member associations," a FIFA spokesperson said.

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"FIFA encourages everybody to share their points of view in a positive spirit of dialogue. We note with satisfaction the willingness from stakeholders to discuss the International Match Calendar and other important issues. Fans around the world are being consulted on an unprecedented scale and FIFA will publish results in due course. The aim of the consultation is to conduct a comprehensive analysis taking into account the diverse views and interests of global football.

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England manager Gareth Southgate says work must be done to eradicate racism not only in football but 'from life in general' after some of his players were racially abused during their 4-0 win over Hungary.

"There are no predetermined objectives, and FIFA has an open mind in search of better solutions for the common good of the game."

Many federations are in favour of the proposal because it would increase revenues and give them more chance of playing in the finals. Opponents, including UEFA, European clubs and leagues, are likely to argue that more games would be impossible to fit into an already congested match calendar and harm the welfare of players.

Wenger would also like all qualifying games for major tournaments to be played in one block in October.

Major women's tournaments, such as the World Cup and continental events like the European Championship, are currently held in odd-numbered years. The men's World Cup and Euros are held in even-numbered years. FIFA's new vision for football would mean every year would feature a men's tournament, which would deny the clear summer focus to promote the growth of the women's game.

A World Cup would also clash with the Olympics, unlike now.

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