Ceferin wary of FIFA’s PR push on biennual World Cup that would rip up global calendar

September 6 – FIFA’s latest calendar proposal, a biennial World Cup, faces opposition from UEFA with the president of the European confederation Aleksander Ceferin having “grave concerns” over the proposal. 

Major macro football innovations have consistently failed to charm the game’s global community. The European Super League, Project Big Picture, the expanded Club World Cup, and this time the idea to play the World Cup every two years have all been met with varying degrees of scepticism as they have attempted to rewrite football’s ecosystem.

Responding to a letter to a fans group Football Supporters Europe, European supremo Ceferin said there were “concerns across the footballing world” about the plans for a biannual World Cup that the Saudi FA tabled at FIFA Congress and Arsene Wenger, Zurich’s director of development, has been promoting in recent weeks.

“Considering the major impact this reform may have on the whole organisation of football there is widespread astonishment that FIFA appears to be launching a PR campaign to push its proposal whilst any such proposals haven’t been presented to confederations, national associations, leagues, clubs, players, coaches, clubs and all the football community,” Ceferin wrote in the letter on Friday, according to Reuters.

“As one concrete example amongst so many, it is imperative to highlight the concerns shared across the footballing world regarding the impact a biennial FIFA World Cup would have on the international match calendar and, prominently in this context, on women’s football.”

“UEFA and its national associations… have serious reservations and grave concerns surrounding reports of FIFA’s plans,” Ceferin added.

In an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe last week, Wenger claimed that the plans will benefit both the club and international game with less matches and higher quality tournaments.

FIFA says that a global consultation of stakeholders is under way, and the idea for a biennual World Cup seems to be gaining traction. Africa has endorsed the plans following a July executive committee and last week a quartet of AFC member associations voiced their support for the project.

That unity showed the direction of travel with the idea bound to find widespread support around the globe from nations that are being led to believe that there would be a doubling of their $6 million+ per four-year cycle grants. Ceferin’s words underpin UEFA’s staunch opposition to a dramatic, unilateral overhaul of the international match calendar.

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