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UEFA: Weaker teams and women's game to suffer with biennial World Cup


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UEFA has reiterated its "serious concerns" about staging the World Cup every two years, saying it will hurt weaker teams and the women's game. 

FIFA president Gianni Infantino, and FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger are on a crusade to make the premier football tournament a biennial event.

In May, a majority of 166 FIFA delegates to 22 voted in favour of a feasibility study examining a potential halving of the gap between World Cups.

Since then, Infantino, Wenger and a galaxy of FIFA 'legends' have been engaged in a full-bore PR campaign extolling the virtues of a biennial World Cup.

Their plan has not been met with universal approval however.

Both UEFA and South American confederation CONMEBOL have spoken out against the idea. CAF (African Federation) are on the fence, with CONCACAF and AFC largely in favour.

The European Leagues group - who provided 543 of the 736 players at the 2018 World Cup - have also voiced their opposition.

UEFA say they - and their 55 member associations - requested a meeting with FIFA on September 14 to voice concerns. They claim to have not yet received a reply from FIFA.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, European football's governing body outlined their primary concerns with the World Cup proposal.

They are:

  • the dilution of the value of the no.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. 

In addition, UEFA said, "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."

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Aleksander Ceferin Arsene Wenger FIFA Gianni Infantino UEFA World Cup

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