October 13 – Criticism of FIFA’s proposal to stage a biennial World Cup continues to mount up, this time from an unexpected source: one of its own main sponsors.
“I don’t think much of a football World Cup held every two years,” Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted told Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
On Tuesday FIFA president Gianni Infantino, continued to defend the proposal. “The prestige of an event depends on its quality, not its frequency,” he said. “You have the Super Bowl every year, Wimbledon or the Champions League every year, and everyone is excited and waiting for it.”
But he would be wise to listen to the likes of Rørsted, whose views carry considerable weight.
The Dane said the controversial idea would simply overcrowd an already congested calendar despite FIFA’s head of global development Arsene Wenger insisting it would do the opposite.
“There’s a European Championship here, there’s a Copa América in Latin America. One should leave space for other things,” he said, echoing the views of UEFA and Europe’s clubs.
The German sportswear giant, which also sponsors UEFA, has been the official supplier of balls for the World Cup since 1970 and its influence is hugely significant.
Rørsted also criticised the aborted plans for a European Super League. While admitting that the introduction of an ESL would benefit his organisation financially, he believes the tournament would be detrimental for the game more widely.
“Financially, the Super League would probably be attractive for us,” he said. “In the long-term, however, we believe that the love for sport from childhood arises from having access and it is something tangible.
“It is important for us that children have access to the stadiums and see their stars, not often, but every now and then. The competitions are not intended to be elitist events that can only be seen on television.
“[Fans] do not want to see the same master over and over again. When Leicester won the Premier League a few years ago, they said: ‘Great.’ The enthusiasm was similar when Lille won the league in France this year. There is a lust for the underdog to win.”
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