Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski concerned over player welfare amid what could become a more congested football calendar; at a FIFA summit last week with 211 world football associations, it was revealed £3.3billion would be generated from holding a World Cup every two years
Tuesday 28 December 2021 12:25, UK
Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski have raised concerns over FIFA's proposal to hold a World Cup every two years, citing the physical strain the move could have on players taking part.
The idea, being backed by FIFA's president Gianni Infantino and chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, is proposing the change as part of a revamp of the football calendar.
At a summit last week, world football's governing body told representatives from its 211 member associations £3.3billion in additional revenue would be generated from holding a biennial World Cup.
But the concept has been met by fierce resistance particularly from UEFA and South American governing body CONMEBOL, who feel the alteration would devalue the competition.
Speaking at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, Paris Saint-Germain and France forward Mbappe, who scored four goals to help his country win the tournament in Russia three-and-a-half years ago, said the proposal could undermine the prestige of the competition and place further pressure on players.
Mbappe said: "My opinion is that the World Cup is the World Cup, it's a special thing because it is every four years. If you have it every two years, it can start to be normal and I want to say that is not normal.
"It is something amazing, maybe you play [in a World Cup] one time in your life. I agree with Robert when we talk about performance, we already play 60 games in the year, you have the Euros, you have the World Cup, we now have the Nations League, so many competitions.
"We are happy to play but when it's too much, it's too much. We have to recover, we have to stay relaxed.
"If people want to have quality in the game… if they just want to see some games on the TV, of course, we're going to play.
"But if they want to see quality games, to see emotion, to see this type of thing that makes the beauty of football too, we have to respect the health of the players."
Bayern Munich and Poland's Lewandowski cited player welfare as a concern amid a packed playing schedule at international and club level.
The 33-year-old added: "We have so many games every year, so many tough weeks, not only the games but preparation for the season, preparation for the big tournaments.
"If you want to offer something special, something different, we also need a break.
"If we have a World Cup every two years, the expectation is the time where footballers play at a high level will go down ... It is physically and mentally impossible."
The 'Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year' and the 'TikTok Fans Player of the Year' accolades were given to Lewandowski at the ceremony in Dubai, while Mbappe was handed the Best Men's Player of the Year award.