UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warns biennial World Cup plans could lead to European boycott

Arsene Wenger is conducting a feasibility study at the request of 166 football associations; Aleksander Ceferin: "I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin
Image: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said holding a World Cup every two years would "kill football" and warned European countries could boycott the tournament.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been tasked with examining whether shortening the gap between the finals from four years to two is possible.

Wenger's feasibility study follows a request from the Saudi Arabian football association to FIFA Congress in May while CONMEBOL - South American football's governing body - made a similar request in November 2018.

The Premier League and the EFL already expressed their opposition to a biennial World Cup along with other members of the European Leagues group.

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Former England striker Gary Lineker says he would have a World Cup 'every year', but admits FIFA may need to reduce the number of qualifying matches to make room for a more regular tournament

Ceferin believes it is "against the basic principles of football" and criticised FIFA for not consulting UEFA before making their plans public.

Asked how UEFA could block a World Cup taking place every two years, Ceferin told The Times: "We can decide not to play in it.

"As far as I know the South Americans are on the same page, so good luck with a World Cup like that.

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"I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football.

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

"To play every summer a one-month tournament, for the players it's a killer. If it's every two years it clashes with the Women's World Cup, with the Olympic football tournament.

"The value is precisely because it is every four years, you wait for it. It's like the Olympic Games, it's a huge event. I don't see our federations supporting that.

"I hope they [FIFA] will come to their senses because I don't see the right approach to go everywhere except the confederations, not to speak to us. They didn't come, they didn't call, I didn't get a letter or anything. I just read in the media."

Wenger: Current calendar is outdated

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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

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.

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Former Reading and Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell says the feeling of 'the rarity of the World Cup' could be lost if the tournament is held every two years

"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.

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Former England defender Danny Mills says 'players would be exhausted' if the World Cup took place every two years

"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."

The proposals were championed by a group of former internationals such as 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldo, along with former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and ex-Australia midfielder Tim Cahill.

Wiegman against World Cup proposals

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England Women manager Sarina Wiegman says she is looking forward to getting to know her new players after selecting her first squad

England boss Sarina Wiegman is against proposals to host World Cups every two years as she vowed to take the Lionesses to the next level.

Wiegman was appointed as England manager last year but only named her first squad last week as she prepares for World Cup qualifiers against North Macedonia and Luxembourg.

The 51-year-old singled out the welfare of the players as the main reason she would be against FIFA's plans.

"I think in Europe we have a very good competition," she said. "So the Euros are great, the World Cup is great, the Olympics are great so that is three tournaments. I think if you have a World Cup every two years that is too much for the players at the moment so I wouldn't be cheering for it right now.

"It is too many tournaments, for Europe it is good (at the moment), the development in Europe for women's football is ahead of most other continents.

"So for Europe it is not necessary, it is about visibility but I also think we need to take care of the well-being of the players and sometimes they need a rest.

"Of course because of Covid we have five tournaments in a row, which is enough. At big tournaments you want the best players on the pitch.

"If you look now at the competitions in England there are so many games, Champions League, international players and you play for your club team - you play so many games because you are one of the best, you are a game-changer so when can you have a rest, we should take care of the welfare of the players.

"You don't want two tournaments (men and women's) at the same time because people are going to have to choose."

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