FIFA are exploring the possibility of hosting the men’s and women’s World Cup every two years instead of the traditional four years.
This proposal was put forth by Saudi Arabia’s football federation (SAFF), and a vote was conducted. SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal said: “We believe the future of football is at a critical juncture.”
“The many issues that football has faced have now been further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.”
“It is important to review how the global game is structured, which should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimum basis for how football is managed both from a competition and a commercial perspective as well as overall football development.”
“Having fewer yet more meaningful competitive national team matches could potentially address concerns regarding player welfare whilst at the same time enhancing the value and merit of such competitions.”
At the governing body’s annual congress on Friday, 166 votes were in favour and 22 were against the study of a possible FIFA World Cup every two years. FIFA President Gianni Infantino thinks the proposal is an “eloquent and detailed proposal”.
Infantino said: “We have to go into these studies with an open mind but we are not going to take decisions which will jeopardise what we are [already] doing. We know about the value of the World Cup, believe me.”
“I would like to put this discussion in a much broader context, that of the international match calendar. Are we really convinced that playing qualifying games [across the year] is the right way when we are saying that fans want more meaningful games? All these points have to be considered. But we will put the sporting element as the top priority, not the commercial element.”
Infantino further added about the European Super League: “We should look at the facts and not rumours or corridor gossip, especially not coming from certain parts. I know many clubs, I speak with clubs for many years and when speaking with European clubs the Super league topic always is a topic for discussion; everyone in football knows that. Let’s not play games here.”
“At Fifa it is my responsibility to meet and discuss with football stakeholders. Everyone, big, medium, small. It doesn’t mean in any way that Fifa was behind, was colluding, was plotting on any Super League project.”
However, if the FIFA World Cup happens every two years, the European Championships and the Copa America would be in doubt as they are held every four years in the even years between World Cups.
Since the inaugural tournament in 1930, the Men’s World Cup has been held every four years, barring 1942 and 1946 because of World War Two. The women’s tournament has also taken place every four years since the first competition in 1991. SO it would be a little odd to host the World Cup every two years.