UEFA have released a statement blasting FIFA for continuing to push the plans for a World Cup every two years without ‘consultation’ and analysing the ‘real dangers’ of the idea.
FIFA are increasingly gung-ho about making the World Cup a biennial event rather than every four years, unveiling results of a study that they commissioned into the plan and touting the backing for it.
This is despite the fact there seems to be relatively little support left for the plan, as CONCACAF also formally withdrew their defence of the proposal.
UEFA today released a statement slamming the way FIFA are going about this, including what exactly the study into the feasibility of a Men’s and Women’s World Cup every two years will actually analyse.
The primary concern is the lack of interest FIFA are showing towards what is already a packed fixture list that would only be further affected by such a plan.
UEFA demand the study also look into the impact on players’ physical and mental health, the impact on fans and the broad football eco-system.
“While waiting to learn the detailed results of the study commissioned by the FIFA Congress that will cover all the mentioned areas, UEFA acknowledges that FIFA has presented a proposal entailing a doubling of World Cup final tournaments as of 2028 as well as Confederations’ final tournaments as of 2025, combined with massive restructuring of the dates reserved by the International Match Calendar for the matches regularly played by all 211 FIFA member associations.
“We are grateful for the attention reserved to the UEFA European Championship, with the proposed double frequency of its final event, but we prefer to address such a sensitive matter with a comprehensive rather than speculative approach.
“UEFA is disappointed with the methodology adopted, which has so far led to radical reform projects being communicated and openly promoted before having been given, together with other stakeholders, the chance to participate in any consultation meeting.
“There are real dangers associated with this plan: the dilution of the value of the n.1 world football event, whose quadrennial occurrence gives it a mystique that generations of fans have grown up with.
“The erosion of sporting opportunities for the weaker national teams by replacing regular matches with final tournaments.
“The risk to sustainability for players, forced to engage in summer high intensity competitions every year instead of longer recuperation breaks in alternate years.
“The risk for the future of women’s tournaments, deprived of exclusive slots and overshadowed by the proximity of top men’s events.
“These are just some of the serious concerns that the FIFA proposal provokes at first glance and they cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments.
“UEFA is of the opinion that the future of the international calendar should be the subject of genuine consultation and exchange between FIFA, the confederations and key stakeholders of competitions, kicking off with an open discussion on perceived problems and considering a range of solutions that will be identified in the course of the debate, taking into account the interest of the game and the legitimate point of view of the different parties.
“In this phase, the respect for a consultation process with the stakeholders – which should be unbiased – would suggest abstaining from promotional campaigns of unilaterally pre-determined concepts that nobody has been given the possibility to see in detail and which have wide-ranging, often unexpected, effects.
“On 14 September, UEFA and its 55 member associations asked FIFA to organise a special meeting with them to be able to voice their concerns on the impact of such plans. UEFA and its 55 member associations have to-date not yet received a reply from FIFA on this request.”
UEFA statement on proposals for a biennial World Cup ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) September 22, 2021