Global Summit for the World Cups project every two years

Gianni Infantino’s project of holding a soccer World Cup every two years continues, despite the initial reluctance that the project had. As much as UEFA, Conmebol and different national associations have already expressed themselves against the proposal of the FIFA president, the leader continues with his idea. For this reason, the former French coach Arsène Wenger, director of World Soccer Development of the organization, will lead this Monday a global summit with representatives of the 211 member countries with the intention of discussing once again the controversial World Cup project every two years. The meeting will be held virtually and the renowned former Arsenal of England DT will be the main speaker.

The global summit was announced on October 20 by Infantino, within the framework of the last Council meeting. The head of FIFA delegated to Wenger his project to modify the calendars of women’s and men’s football from the years 2023 and 2024, respectively. The intention of FIFA is to debate once again the controversial and several times rejected idea of ​​organizing a World Cup every two years.

The project emerged at the 71st FIFA Congress in May this year when member countries agreed to carry out a “feasibility study to investigate the possible consequences of playing the FIFA World Cup every two years instead of every four”.

Wenger was chosen by Infantino to lead this process but so far he has only gotten the support of former footballers. Both UEFA and Conmebol, representatives of Europe and South America, publicly opposed the plan to narrow the time gap between the World Cups, arguing how tight the calendars are, something that would be strengthened if Infantino’s plan were to be implemented. Even in Europe they accepted in recent days that the idea is to invite the South American selected teams to their ambitious League of Nations in 2024, created in the 2018/19 season.

Arsene Wenger is the expert behind FIFA’s plan. (AFP)

UEFA’s announcement came just days before the global summit on Monday and shook FIFA, which proposes the opposite: to close the gap and the competitive imbalance between the most developed and the less privileged countries, according to its project.

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Wenger supports his idea on four points: the reorganization of the competition periods of national teams; the protection of the health and well-being of footballers; the biennial World Cup and the Annual and Extended Youth World Cups. In the first point, the intention is to reduce the number of international windows. Currently five are organized between March and November.

The former defender of the Argentine national team Pablo Zabaleta is one of the defenders of the project and supported the idea of ​​creating a single annual window of one month for each team to play all the games and thus reduce travel and physical fatigue. This is related to the protection of the health of the footballers for which it is also proposed to establish a minimum mandatory rest period of three weeks after the last official game of the season.

Hence the intention to shorten the frequency of time between the World Cups. “The prestige of a competition is not necessarily linked to its frequency, as shown by some of the major soccer competitions on an annual or biennial basis,” they explain from FIFA.

The fourth and final modification emphasizes the juveniles. It is Wenger’s intention to play Annual and Extended Youth World Cups as a contribution to creating a consistent and ongoing competitive environment for young talents. According to Wenger, this approach “will favor the emergence, detection and development of young talents far from the most developed countries.”

FIFA will also present as support a global poll conducted between August and November in which the majority of fans voted in favor of the most followed World Cups. Of the 30,390 people who declared themselves soccer fans, 63.7% answered that they would like to shorten the four-year wait for the World Cup. 23.3% answered that perhaps, 11% were against and 2% did not have an opinion. In South America that percentage was reduced to 54% in favor, 25% perhaps, 20% against, 1% don’t know / don’t answer. The country that most rejected the idea was England, which registered 53% against, 15% in favor, 27% perhaps and 5% don’t know / no answer.


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