UEFA have issued a strongly worded statement on FIFA’s plan to organise a World Cup every two years – claiming “proper consultation, rather than media announcements are needed”.
The game’s global governing body is attempting to lobby football associations, leagues, clubs and players’ unions ahead of a radical change to international football.
FIFA is currently holding a ‘feasibility study’ into holding biennial World Cups, with the proposed changes being led by former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenge.
Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA’s president had already made his feelings for the proposal clear, claiming it would ‘dilute the event’, with heads of European football now releasing an official statement.
Paul Murphy/UEFA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
Within the statement, UEFA suggested that there are four “real dangers associated with the plan” which include diluting the value of the event, the erosion of sporting opportunities for weaker national teams, the risk to players and the risk for the future of women’s tournaments.
The statement begins: “Proper consultation, rather than media announcements are needed on impact and consequences of potential radical move.
“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.”
UEFA have also accused FIFA of leaving them in the dark over plans, failing to consult with them before proposals are made public.
It continues: “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.”
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As for the ‘real dangers’ UEFA explain them as such: “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.”
UEFA suggest that the issues around a more condensed schedule “cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments”.