October 22 – Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer has become the latest high-profile football figure to oppose FIFA’s biennial World Cup proposal, saying that “you must never sacrifice football on the altar of financial interests.”
“Players, coaches, everyone who bears responsibility in the clubs groan and moan about too many games – and now the World Cup rhythm is to be increased again? That simply doesn’t make sense,” said Hainer, a former CEO of Adidas, told German magazine Kicker. “We have to think about the health of the players.”
The German Football Association (DFB) has already expressed its opposition to Zurich’s plan and Hainer’s remarks confirm German club football is not in favour of a World Cup every two years either.
On Wednesday, following a meeting of the FIFA Council, Zurich boss Gianni Infantino struck a more conciliatory tone and emphasised that he wants to find a global consensus ahead of a virtual talk shop planned for December, ditching plans for a vote.
Previously, FIFA had been on course to railroad through the proposal, with support of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and member associations from Asia. Both Conmebol and UEFA have been staunchly against the idea.
“The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world – and not without reason,” said Hainer, suggesting that a biennial World Cup could “ultimately lead to over-saturation and thus damage football in the long run”.
“Of course, this idea is also about generating additional revenue, and money plays an important role in professional sport,” said Hainer. “But you must never sacrifice football on the altar of financial interests.”
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