FIFA to hold online summit to discuss international match calendar
France won the last men's World Cup in Russia in 2018, with the next tournament taking place in Qatar in 2022.
France won the last men's World Cup in Russia in 2018, with the next tournament taking place in Qatar in 2022.

FIFA will hold an online summit with its member associations on September 30 to discuss the international men’s and women’s calendar.
A World Cup every two years rather than four is part of FIFA’s plans.

The current match calendar for the women’s game runs to the end of 2023, while the men’s expires in 2024.

“There is a broad consensus within the game that the international match calendar should be reformed and improved,” said FIFA.
“This is one of several opportunities to establish a constructive and open debate, at a global and regional level, over the coming months and FIFA is looking forward to it.”

World football’s governing body said Arsene Wenger, FiFA’s chief of global football development, and former United States women’s team manager Jill Ellis were heading technical advisory groups looking at the men’s and women’s calendars.

European governing body UEFA, South American confederation CONMEBOL and Europe’s major leagues have declared their opposition to plans for a biennial World Cup.

England women’s head coach Sarina Wiegman is also against the idea.
“I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think it’s very good for the players and their welfare,” she said.

“It’s Europe, it’s very well organised with good competitions. We have the Euros, then the Olympics, then the World Cup which are major tournaments for us from Europe.

“When you have all these tournaments every year, when are the players going to have some rest? When are they going to recover from a very intense football every year in a row? Players are not robots. I don’t think it’s a very good idea.”

Additionally, the Alliance of European Football Coaches’ Associations (AEFCA) has written to UEFA to support its stance on the issue.
“The FIFA proposal leads to a considerable increase in the workload for all parties involved, but the already tight timetable does not offer any space for this,” wrote AEFCA president Walter Gagg and secretary general Jurgen Pforr.

“This proposal to hold the World Cup every two years has a purely commercial background and is the continuation of a whole series of unsuitable FIFA proposals from recent years.”

According to a survey commissioned by FIFA, a majority of fans would support a men’s World Cup more frequently than every four years, although the most popular answer across all age groups was to maintain the status quo.

Wenger wants to reduce the number of mid-season international breaks, potentially from four to a single extended one lasting throughout October, which former Brazil defender Roberto Carlos feels would be a good idea.

“This idea reduces the number of trips as you would have the qualifying stages done in one month,” he said.

“So, you would have the time to train, play well, rest and get back to your club. There are too many consecutive matches. When you add the travel and the fatigue, it’s very complex. I think that football will improve a lot once this problem gets sorted.”

(BBC Sport)


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