By Sports Correspondent
FIFA president Gianni Infantino attempted to distance himself on Thursday from a highly contentious plan to hold the World Cup every two years, claiming that the plan had never been proposed by world football’s governing body.
“Let me be clear: FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup,” Infantino said on the eve of the tournament’s draw at the organization’s congress in Doha.
Despite this, Infantino and Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager who is now FIFA’s head of global development, have pushed the project in recent months.
Infantino claimed last December at a virtual global summit to discuss the topic that playing the World Cup more frequently would provide enormous financial benefits for FIFA.
Federations that are members.
Then, based on feasibility studies that predicted significant revenue increases, FIFA promised each national federation an additional $19 million every four years.
Nonetheless, Infantino was forced to postpone a vote on the subject due to vehement opposition from all sides.
The subject was expected to be prominently discussed at Thursday’s congress in Qatar’s capital, but the agenda was instead dominated by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the build-up to the World Cup.
“Let’s be clear about the process here: at the last FIFA Congress, the FIFA administration was asked to begin a feasibility study into holding the World Cup every two years,” Infantino added.
“The FIFA administration, led by Arsene Wenger, did exactly that.”
did not make any suggestions, but came to the conclusion that it is feasible, and that it would have some ramifications and impact.”
“We found it would be feasible and even positive for a large part of the world,” he added, “but there is of course significant opposition to it, and that is where the discussion must begin.”
The project has been slammed from almost every angle, with UEFA and South American governing body CONMEBOL banding together in opposition and even discussing the formation of a transatlantic Nations League after 2024.
The European Club Association, as well as leagues and players, have all expressed their displeasure.
The Confederation of African Football supported the initiative, but the International Olympic Committee expressed concerns about increased frequency.
World Cups divert attention from other sports.
– New Club World Cup still in the works – However, Infantino later stated that there was still some hope of reviving the project in the future.
“We’re considering all options.” “We will take the time necessary to understand all positions,” he said.
He also stated that plans for an expanded, 24-team Club World Cup are still in the works, despite the fact that the first edition was forced to be postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.
It was scheduled for June and July of 2021, but it was postponed to make room for the Copa America and Euro 2020, both of which were postponed by a year due to Covid-19.
In its current form, the Club World Cup features seven teams: the champions of each continental federation.
as well as the host country — and Infantino admits it’s “not exciting or inclusive enough.”
“We decided to hold a new Club World Cup with 24 teams.” It was supposed to be played in June 2021, but we agreed to postpone it,” Infantino said.
“That remains the plan. We have not yet set a new date for that because there are more pressing issues to address, such as the pandemic.
“For the time being, we have our current Club World Cup, but we are looking forward to a new version.”
Chelsea won the Club World Cup this year, defeating Palmeiras in the final in Abu Dhabi last month.