Infantino: Biennial World Cup opponents are scared

Infantino: Biennial World Cup opponents are scared

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has accused those opposed to holding the World Cup every two years of fearing losing their elevated status in the game.

African member countries on Friday endorsed plans by football’s world governing body to stage biennial World Cups.

UEFA and CONMEBOL, the south American body, have already come out against FIFA’s proposal to change the current four-year cycle.

“Those who are against it are those at the top. It happens in every sector of life when there are reforms and changes, those who are at the top don’t want anything to change because they are at the top,” said Infantino at the Confederation of African Football congress in Cairo.

“And they are afraid maybe that if something changes, their leadership position is at risk.

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“We understand that and we compliment and applaud them for having been so successful in reaching the top. This is fantastic, and they are an example for everyone.

“But at the same time, we cannot close the door, we need to keep the door open, we need to give hope and opportunities.”

Infantino insists increasing the frequency of the hosting of FIFA’s flagship event would offer more opportunities to countries outside of the top tier of the world game.

“We need to offer more chances for world football, for African football to shine at the world stage,” he added.

Infantino said he would continue to consult opinion on the proposal but gave no timeline for its possible implementation.

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Arsene Wenger says he understands why some are concerned about his proposals to hold a World Cup every two years, but insists it is in the best interests of football.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now the chief of global football development at FIFA, is leading a consultation on a new international men’s calendar from 2024.

UEFA has said the proposed plans could be “profoundly detrimental”, while CONMEBOL said the project “turns its back on almost 100 years of world football tradition”.

In 2017, FIFA voted to increase its number of finalists from 32 to 48 for the 2026 World Cup edition, which is being co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.