UEFA criticises FIFA for lack of consultation on 'radical' World Cup proposals

By Sports Desk September 22, 2021

UEFA has demanded further consultation with FIFA over their plans for a biennial World Cup.

FIFA, led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, has been promoting the idea for the World Cup to shift format and take place every two years.

Wenger's proposal would see a major final held every year, the former Arsenal manager previously suggesting players would be playing in another tournament if it was not the World Cup either way.

However, UEFA and CONMEBOL both argued against the suggestions due to scheduling concerns. Earlier this week, FIFA invited the member associations to a summit to discuss the proposals.

On Wednesday, however, UEFA released a statement criticising FIFA's lack of consultation on a "potential radical move".

"In May 2021, the FIFA Congress mandated the FIFA administration to conduct a study into the feasibility of a Men's and Women's World Cup every two years," UEFA's statement read.

"UEFA assumes that the word "feasibility" encompasses all effects and consequences and includes all issues relating to the calendar, formats and access of the final and preliminary competitions; the impact on existing club and national team competitions, their sporting and commercial opportunities; the impact on players' physical and mental health; the impact on fans, their desire to see more frequent tournaments of this standing, the sustainability for them of more frequent travelling and the impact on the broad football eco-system, by which we mean assessing the balance of opportunities that national teams from all 211 FIFA member associations would have to develop in such a radically changed scenario."

UEFA also expressed concern over women's competitions receiving the attention needed to grow the sport, the impact on youth players and the potential of undermining other sports.

The statement continued: "We are grateful for the attention reserved to the UEFA European Championship, with the proposed double frequency of its final event, but we prefer to address such a sensitive matter with a comprehensive rather than speculative approach.

"UEFA is disappointed with the methodology adopted, which has so far led to radical reform projects being communicated and openly promoted before having been given, together with other stakeholders, the chance to participate in any consultation meeting."

UEFA also believe the World Cup's prestige could be lessened by playing the tournament every two years.

However, European football's governing body acknowledged consultation is required to further refine the international calendar.

"UEFA is of the opinion that the future of the international calendar should be the subject of genuine consultation and exchange between FIFA, the confederations and key stakeholders of competitions, kicking off with an open discussion on perceived problems and considering a range of solutions that will be identified in the course of the debate, taking into account the interest of the game and the legitimate point of view of the different parties," the statement concluded.

"In this phase, the respect for a consultation process with the stakeholders - which should be unbiased - would suggest abstaining from promotional campaigns of unilaterally pre-determined concepts that nobody has been given the possibility to see in detail and which have wide-ranging, often unexpected, effects.

"On 14 September, UEFA and its 55 member associations asked FIFA to organise a special meeting with them to be able to voice their concerns on the impact of such plans. UEFA and its 55 member associations have to-date not yet received a reply from FIFA on this request."

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