FIFA has invited football's governing bodies to an online summit to discuss biennial World Cup plans and the international calendar on September 30.

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 have both rubbished the suggestions due to scheduling concerns, with FIFA now inviting the pair - along with all other member associations and league representatives - to discuss matters further.

"There is a broad consensus within the game that the International Match Calendar should be reformed and improved," FIFA's statement on Monday said.

"Following invitations to stakeholders, including all confederations, at the beginning of September, discussions are being organised in the coming weeks.

"This is one of several opportunities to establish a constructive and open debate, at a global and regional level, over the coming months and FIFA is looking forward to it.

"As this is a football project, in which the global interests of football should come first, this process started with players and coaches from all over the world. The debate will also involve fans from around the globe.

"FIFA is committed to being a forum for meaningful debate by engaging with a wide range of stakeholders including fans and looks forward to discussions on the sustainable growth of football in all regions of the world, at all levels."

The men's World Cup has taken place every four years since 1930, aside from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War, while the women's World Cup has followed suit since its 1991 debut.

However, FIFA released results of fan surveys last week, which showed most favoured a two-year gap between World Cups, though in each age category the popular choice was to retain the current format.

European champions Italy are on a world record 37-game unbeaten streak, but they remain lodged at number five in the FIFA rankings.

The world governing body published its new list on Thursday and the only change in the top five saw England jump to third, nudging France down to fourth.

England were runners-up to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, losing on penalties at Wembley after a 1-1 draw, and two wins and a draw from World Cup qualifiers in September have seen Gareth Southgate's team edge ahead of Les Bleus.

It is the first time since 2012 that England have reached the top three, and third place remains the highest position they have achieved in the rankings.

Didier Deschamps' France could only manage two draws and a win in this month's international break, while Italy were held by Bulgaria and Switzerland before landing a 5-0 victory over Lithuania.

Italy have been a roaring success under the leadership of Roberto Mancini, who inherited a team that failed to qualify for the last World Cup and had plummeted to 21st in FIFA's rankings.

They set the record for the most games unbeaten at international level during their run of September games, staying in control as leaders of World Cup European qualifying Group C.

With FIFA's rankings offering significant weighting to World Cup tournament performance, Italy could make a significant leap should their strong form under coach Mancini continue into the Qatar 2022 finals.

Belgium remain top of the FIFA list, with Brazil in second. Copa America winners Argentina stay sixth.

 

FIFA has been urged not to push through a decision on holding the World Cup every two years by CONCACAF, which called for all nations to be given chance to weigh in on the matter.

The current men's FIFA international match calendar ends in 2024 and Arsene Wenger is seeking to shape a new schedule in his role as FIFA's chief of global football development, but his plans have been met with opposition.

CONMEBOL said on Friday that South American nations are firmly opposed to a biennial World Cup, and CONCACAF – which governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean – underlined the importance of all voices being heard in the debate.

A CONCACAF statement read: "Meetings between FIFA officials and the Confederation and, separately, CONCACAF Member Associations, will take place in the coming weeks.

"Our initial analysis is that we recognise the merits of creating entirely new international men's, women's, and youth football calendars which are underpinned by fewer international windows, reduced travel for players, friendlies being replaced by meaningful matches, and a more balanced structure for the overall benefit of football development globally.

"We will continue to look at these proposals constructively, with an open mind, and in the spirit of positive engagement.

"CONCACAF welcomes the fact that FIFA's chief of [global] football development, Mr. Arsene Wenger, has been transparent in sharing his vision and we are currently studying how the proposed changes would impact football in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

"While CONCACAF's immediate focus is on its own region, we also believe in the importance of being part of the global football family and we will listen to the views of football stakeholders in all parts of the world. It was in this spirit that CONCACAF was supportive of UEFA and its European football stakeholders when recent threats to their own club competitions structures were explored."

UEFA expressed strong opposition to the plans for a biennial World Cup, warning of a possible boycott if the plans go ahead.

While CONCACAF's statement did not show the level of clear opposition to the plans that came from UEFA and CONMEBOL, it urged caution nonetheless.

"Football in all parts of the world should be given an equal opportunity to play a part in the development of what is a FIFA international football calendar. Now is not the time for fearmongering and neither is it right that this process should be dominated by the interests of a few, or that more weight should be given to one particular region over others.  

"We encourage not only our fellow confederations but also all members of the global football family to come together and work collaboratively to create FIFA calendars and competitions that have benefits for the development of the game in all regions across the world."

Brent Sancho believes his appointment to FIFA’s Players' Status Chamber (PSC) will be beneficial to the Caribbean.

Central and South American players who were barred from travelling to World Cup qualifiers by their Premier League teams will be available this weekend after their countries backed down from a request to ban them under FIFA rules. 

Players from Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Paraguay are cleared to play as their national federations agreed late Friday to waive a measure that would have compelled the players to sit out after their clubs refused to release them for international duty. 

Premier League teams last month decided to prevent players from nations on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 "red list" to participate in Qatar 2022 qualifiers, citing the UK's requirement that people who have travelled to those countries quarantine for 10 days upon their return. 

There had been some indications earlier Friday that the players might be available, but official word did not come down until shortly before midnight London time. 

Brazilians now available to their clubs Saturday include Ederson and Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City, Chelsea's Thiago Silva and Manchester United's Fred. 

Among players from other nations involved, Wolves can use Mexico's Raul Jimenez on Saturday, while Newcastle will have Paraguay's Miguel Almiron available, and Watford can play Chile's Francisco Sierralta 

Liverpool will be most relieved, with Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino cleared to face Raphina and Leeds on Sunday. 

Earlier Friday, Jurgen Klopp said at a news conference that he hoped a solution could be reached for the benefit of all parties involved. 

"It is a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs, and the players especially," Klopp said. "We should not forget at this moment that the players wanted to play these games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible."

South American nations are firmly opposed to FIFA staging the World Cup every two years, CONMEBOL said on Friday, warning that such a change "could distort the most important football competition on the planet".

The confederation indicated it had been wrong to advocate for a switch from the current format, after its president Alejandro Dominguez pushed in 2018 for the world governing body to consider holding the global tournament more frequently.

Arsene Wenger is the figurehead of a move to transform the game's calendar, with FIFA's chief of global football development seeking influential support but also encountering serious opposition to the project.

Europe's top leagues have said they are "firmly and unanimously" opposed to the plans, while UEFA has strongly expressed its opposition and warned of a possible World Cup boycott if the plans get the go-ahead, with its president Aleksander Ceferin saying European and South American national federations were "on the same page".

That point has now been underlined by a CONMEBOL takedown of FIFA's plans that concludes it would be "highly unviable" and that there was "no sporting justification" to change the World Cup from its current status as a tournament that is staged every four years.

CONMEBOL said it had consulted senior South American football officials before delivering its verdict.

It stated: "A World Cup every two years could distort the most important football competition on the planet, lowering its quality and undermining its exclusive character and its current demanding standards.

"The World Cup is an event that attracts the attention and expectations of billions of people because it represents the culmination of a process of elimination that lasts the entire four-year period and has its own dynamics and appeal.

"A World Cup every two years would represent an overload that is practically impossible to manage in the international competition calendar. In the current conditions, it is already complex to harmonise times, schedules, logistics, adequate preparation of equipment and commitments. The situation would be extremely difficult with the proposed change. It could even put the quality of other tournaments, both club and national, at risk.

"The idea of ​​the World Cup is to bring together the most talented footballers, the most outstanding coaches and the most trained referees to determine in a fair and fair competition which is the best team on the planet. This cannot be achieved without proper preparation, without teams developing their skills and technicians designing and implementing strategies. All of this translates into time, training sessions, planning, games.

"CONMEBOL defends the search for excellence in the field of play and is committed to increasingly competitive events of the highest quality. There is no sporting justification for shortening the period between World Cups."

 

The South American confederation said for any major change to take place, there must be "a frank debate, in which all opinions and criteria are considered".

FIFA's proposal is for the men's and women's World Cups to each take place every two years, along with international breaks for qualifying games during domestic seasons being fewer in number but longer in duration.

World Cup heavyweights Brazil and Argentina may be among South American nations concerned about the financial muscle within European football, and CONMEBOL is not closing its door to discussions with FIFA about developing the game.

It added that it was always "open to dialogue that seeks the best for football", but its opposition to the World Cup proposal appears inflexible, given the forthright terms in which it was delivered. Having performed one U-turn, a second would point to incompetence.

The upshot of Friday's development is that FIFA is facing stiff opposition from the two continental federations that have provided every men's World Cup winning team.

"Although at some point CONMEBOL supported the project in question, technical [analysis] showed that it is highly unviable," CONMEBOL's statement added.

"Therefore, under current conditions, it ratifies its support for the current World Cup model, with its terms and classification mechanisms, considering it consistent with the spirit that animated those who conceived and founded this competition."

Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann have hit out at FIFA's plan to stage the World Cup every two years, saying such demands were too much for players.

Liverpool manager Klopp and Bayern Munich head coach Nagelsmann are considered two of Europe's top bosses, and their stance is directly contrary to the position taken by FIFA's Arsene Wenger.

Former Arsenal manager Wenger is chief of global football development with the world governing body, and he has said the proposals are "the right solution for the modern way to organise football".

As well as the biennial World Cup, qualifying games would take place in extended mid-season international breaks, which would mean time spent away from clubs is concentrated into one or two stints in a campaign.

Wenger may find support for various aspects of his reform plans, but shifting the World Cup from its long-standing tradition of happening every four years is a step too far for many senior figures in the game.

Klopp said in a Liverpool news conference on Friday: "There's no other sport in the world with such a relentless calendar. [There are] more demanding sports, but they don't run all year.

"We know why it's happening. Whatever people say ... it's all about money. That's fine. We do it because we love it and get lots of money as well.

"At one point, someone has to understand that without the players we cannot play this. No one is more important than the players. A World Cup every two years, then every two years there is the Euros too.

"So every year, a top-class player plays an international tournament. A three-week break every year?

"The ideas about reform are always about more games. There are too many 'meaningless games' [they say] but if you only have competitions under pressure that's difficult. We never have time for pre-season with key players. They play without a break. That's not right."

 

Nagelsmann's verdict reflected that of his fellow German Klopp.

"A World Cup every two years, I don't like that," Nagelsmann said in Bayern's pre-match news conference.

"I'm not a friend of that idea. On one hand it's the strain on all the players and of course it just diminishes a World Cup if it's every two years.

"We have such a flood of games, a schedule that's difficult to cope with, specifically here in Germany and here in Munich.

"We have to have proper finances, make sure that we have a good squad. We need bigger squads, that means you have bigger costs. You need 24 players because you have to compensate for all the injured players because of this busy schedule.

"At some point it doesn't make any more sense. The footballers are there to entertain the masses, and to thrill the masses. But of course these are people who have health and fitness issues every once in a while who need a day or two to regenerate.

"This incredibly busy schedule isn't good for the quality of the games.

"And if the quality of the games decreases then there's going to be less money in future – people will not watch as much football if it's slow, if the players are injured and can't run anymore."

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin this week claimed teams from Europe and South America may boycott the World Cup if FIFA presses ahead with its plan.

The Premier League, meanwhile, was among a group of major European leagues that came out "firmly and unanimously" against FIFA's proposals.

The men's World Cup has taken place every four years since the inaugural edition in 1930, aside from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War, while the women's World Cup has followed suit since it was first staged in 1991. The men's 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit out at the "farcical" situation that could prevent Brazil international Fred from playing for Manchester United this weekend.

United blocked Fred from joining up with his national side for their triple-leader of September World Cup qualifiers due to Brazil being on the United Kingdom's travel red list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That would mean players having to isolate in a hotel for a minimum of 10 days upon their return, ruling them out for at least three matches.

However, the ​Brazilian Football Confederation has asked FIFA to enforce a law that would block players not released from representing their countries for at least five days.

Should that be the case, Fred will not be available for selection to face Newcastle United on Saturday, although United are still waiting on official confirmation.

Solskjaer has now joined Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, who are also set to be without some key players over the coming days, in calling on FIFA to show some common sense.

"It is a lose, lose, lose situation for everyone, national teams, players, clubs," he said at a pre-match news conference on Friday. "It has been a farce. 

"The players want to play. We know the situation we find ourselves in. We've had to try and find a way, but all the decisions have gone against the players.

"I'm disappointed with the whole thing. We need to prepare without Fred but fingers crossed some sense can come into it and we can use him."

Fred has started all three games for United so far this season and is second only to defender Harry Maguire (152) for successful passes (133), while only Aaron Wan-Bissaka (five) has intercepted the ball more times than the Brazilian (four).

While the 28-year-old's availability remains uncertain, Solskjaer confirmed returning forward Cristiano Ronaldo is in line for his second debut this weekend.

In further good news for United, who have seven points from the first nine on offer, Jadon Sancho is also available despite withdrawing from the England squad with a knock.

"Jadon has come back in with a minor problem but he's trained the last couple of days," Solskjaer said. 

"He's disappointed he couldn't play for England but determined to be fit and he’s available. So that's a positive. 

"The international break, we didn't get anyone injured.

"Luke [Shaw], Harry [Maguire] and Victor [Lindelof] played late on Wednesday night so they've not had a lot of recovery but they will be available, I think."

United have lost just one of their last 36 home league games against Newcastle (W26 D9), with that defeat coming in December 2013 when David Moyes was in charge.

The Red Devils have scored at least once in each of their last 14 Premier League home games, meanwhile, netting 40 times in total (2.9 per game).

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hit out at the "crazy" decision from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to invoke a FIFA suspension for Ederson and Gabriel Jesus.

City duo Ederson and Jesus were – among the majority of other South American players in the Premier League – not released by their clubs for the recent round of World Cup qualifiers on the continent.

Premier League clubs unanimously agreed last month they would refuse to release players called up by nations that are on the British government's travel red list amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All of South America is on this list, and players would have had to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days upon their arrival back in the United Kingdom, leaving them unavailable for at least two league games and next week's European fixtures.

Spurs trio Davinson Sanchez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero nevertheless joined up with Colombia and Argentina respectively, while Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia also travelled, though the Argentine contingent agreed to return early.

However, Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero were at the centre of incredible scenes in Sao Paulo last weekend when Brazilian health authority officials stormed onto the pitch to detain the trio, as Brazil's travel rules demand individuals to isolate if they have been in the UK within 14 days of their arrival in the country.

Explaining his frustration and confusion, Guardiola pointed to this fact after Brazil invoked a FIFA ruling to prevent clubs from fielding the players they did not release.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Leicester City, Guardiola told a news conference on Friday: "Right now it still isn't clear, hopefully they can play, we will wait and see tomorrow if there is some good news. The club didn't inform me of anything. So we are going to wait and see if they can play or not.

"I don't understand the situation for the fact that I don't know what we can do. It's an honour for us that our players go and play for the countries where they are born. It's no problem at all.

"It's difficult to justify for me that the Argentina players who play in the Premier League, they go to Brazil and they were not allowed to play, and the Brazilian players who should have travelled to play this game would have been completely the same.

"So if they travelled there, they wouldn't have been able to play because of the quarantine there. If they do it so they [fly to Brazil] but cannot play in Brazil and after when they came back they could not play here for 10 days. And if they don't fly, then after they are suspended for five days because they were here. So it makes no sense.

"Argentina travelled with some players, the police were on the pitch, and they could not play the game because they didn't follow the protocol.

"So it would have happened with the Brazil players. And after the federation from Brazil asked FIFA to ban these players that cannot travel to play with them, but they could not play there, and now they could not play here? It's crazy."

With Zack Steffen isolating in the United States having tested positive for COVID-19, Guardiola will likely have to call on veteran goalkeeper Scott Carson to make just his second City appearance if Ederson is rendered unavailable – the former England international's only previous outing being in a 4-3 win over Newcastle United back in May, his first top-flight appearance in a decade.

Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick in that match and, after netting twice against Arsenal last time out, has now been involved in six goals in his last six league appearances. 

Jesus, playing on the right of City's front three, has also made a strong start to the season and would be a miss for Guardiola's team. Indeed, the forward has only scored more times against Everton (eight) in the Premier League than he has in meetings with Leicester (five).

Guardiola was at least able to offer positive news on the fitness of Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne.

"Yesterday Phil made the first training session, and Kevin was training alone and then with the players still here," he said. "They're feeling much better."

Thomas Tuchel declared Romelu Lukaku fit but remains unsure of Thiago Silva's availability ahead of their clash with Aston Villa on Saturday.

Lukaku, who has scored in each of his previous five Premier League appearances against Aston Villa, revealed he was set for a scan after picking up a knock in his 100th Belgium appearance against the Czech Republic last weekend.

However, Tuchel confirmed Lukaku reported back to training fully fit.

When asked if Lukaku's injury was an issue, Tuchel told reporters on Friday: "No, not at all. Maybe he had some problems but he came back and he has trained with us, no problems at all."

While Lukaku looks set to feature at Stamford Bridge, the Blues await a decision on whether Silva can.

Premier League clubs agreed to not release players to South American countries for international duty due to quarantine requirements, and Brazil retaliated by calling for FIFA to impose bans on their absent stars.

Silva has played an important role in ensuring Chelsea boast the Premier League's meanest defence – excluding the teams promoted from the Championship – since Tuchel's arrival, having conceded just 14 goals, but he could be forced to miss out.

"Thiago [Silva] isn't officially out," Tuchel responded. "The chairman is still in talks. I'm waiting for the final decision. We will take the latest decision tomorrow morning.

"I don't understand it and it makes no sense from whatever side you look. Did it make sense for Brazil? No. Did it make sense for us? No, because he may not be able to play two matches.

"If we had sent him, he would've been out for ten days in a hotel room, not able to train. I understand because these are the travel restrictions, there's nothing to go around it.

"I don't know how any fan in this game can see a positive effect. There is none."

With or without Silva, Chelsea are also looking to become the second team to 600 Premier League wins, after Manchester United, as they host Dean Smith's men.

Fabio Capello claimed former side England have a "monkey on their back and then fail" when it comes to finals.

Gareth Southgate's men reached their first major final in 55 years at Euro 2020, but lost on penalties as Italy claimed their first European Championship since 1968.

England have enjoyed relative success in September's World Cup qualifiers, crushing Hungary and Andorra 4-0 before conceding a late equaliser to draw 1-1 with Poland.

In the latter game, Southgate opted to not make any substitutions – the first time the Three Lions have done so since the Euro 1996 semi-final against Germany.

And Capello believes there is a reason for the England manager's lack of substitutes in Warsaw after heartbreak in the Euro 2020 final two months ago.

"If [Southgate] doesn't make subs it means he wants this group to be convinced to be strong, as the results proved," Capello, who managed England for five years until 2012, told reporters.

"Bear in mind, they have just botched half a match versus Italy in the final, when they were overwhelmed by fear and stopped playing.

"I know England and their problems. They have that monkey on their back to get to the final and then they fail."

England are unbeaten in their last 16 international matches (W13 D3) – their longest streak without defeat since a 16-game run between September 1995 and November 1996.

While international teams pursue qualification for Qatar 2022, FIFA's chief of global football development, Arsene Wenger, is pushing a biennial plan for future World Cups.

The former Arsenal manager's proposition, which was put to FIFA in May, would see global football's most important tournament switch to a two-year cycle.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin greeted the suggestions with disdain, but Capello revealed he would support the proposed changes as a player.

"As a player, I would like the World Cup to be played every two years," the 75-year-old Italian continued.

"Four years is a long time and sometimes you are at the top of your game but when the World Cup comes you are not and you have no chance to shine.

"At the same time, waiting four years makes that trophy more coveted and important, it is bigger.

"Every two years, this value would decrease but again, as a player, I played the World Cup just once, and the second time I missed it for the width of a hair, so I would [play every two years]."

Arsene Wenger claimed there has been a "very positive" response to proposals for the World Cup to be staged every two years – as UEFA warned that its members could boycott the tournament.

The former Arsenal manager has become the figurehead for FIFA's mission to change the landscape of the world game, in plans that have been derided by UEFA and Europe's top leagues.

Wenger, 71, is FIFA's chief of global football development, and he has been at the forefront of promoting an idea that Saudi Arabia proposed to FIFA in May.

Frenchman Wenger said it would need to be a "democratic" decision by FIFA's members if global football's most important tournament is to shift from its current format, whereby it takes place every four years.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told The Times: "We can decide not to play in it. As far as I know, the South Americans are on the same page. So good luck with a World Cup like that. I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football. To play every summer a one-month tournament, for the players it's a killer."

Wenger sees it a different way, claiming the theory that players would be overworked is a misnomer as he argued they would be in demand for another tournament if they are not required for the World Cup.

Speaking in footage shown by Sky Sports News on Thursday, Wenger said: "Overall, I think I have got a very positive response, but this decision is a democratic decision and will be made certainly by the 211 countries that are affiliated with FIFA.

"We continue to consult people and that's an ongoing process that will happen until December. After that it's down to all the federations to decide what will happen."

 

Wenger is backing a restructuring of the professional game that would see one or two extended international breaks during the domestic season, to allow for national teams to play a large tranche of fixtures rather than have various breaks spread across the year. He sees that, and the World Cup plan, as offering a prospect that would benefit football.

"I believe if I was inside the club I would sign with two hands for that programme. It would give me time with the players, to get their focus on what is important for the club," Wenger said.

"Overall I would say a better situation between club and national team football would improve the quality of the concentration on both sides. If we create room and we do not play big competitions, you will play small competitions.

"Don't think you will not play. The target of the players and football to improve all over the world is to play top-level competitions.

"After that I'm not hesitant at all, I'm 100 per cent convinced that what I propose is the right solution for the modern way to organise football."

FIFA's plan applies to men's and women's World Cups, but the men's tournament is overwhelmingly the world governing body's biggest provider of revenue.

A host of star former players from FIFA's 'Legends' programme have gathered in Doha, Qatar, this week to hear Wenger explain the plans, with Brazil great Ronaldo among them, giving the expansion his support.

There has been scorn for FIFA's plans from outside football, with World Athletics president Sebastian Coe concerned about the impact on the Olympic Games.

Coe, who is a member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Guardian: "I can see no good reason for it. There may be vested interests here but the summer sports are protective about the landscape as it's hard enough for them as it is to grab space in the traditional or digital media.

"A biennial World Cup will inevitably start clashing with the Olympic Games too.

"I'm a big football fan, but I fear that you’re going to put a lot of players under some big physical stress. The clubs and leagues are all opposed to it. And my gut instinct is that you can keep cramming stuff into the calendar if you really want to, but less is more sometimes."

The Premier League was among a group of major European leagues that declared this week they are "firmly and unanimously" against FIFA's proposals.

The men's World Cup has taken place every four years since the inaugural edition in 1930, aside from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War, while the women's World Cup has followed suit since it was first staged in 1991.

The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar.

Japan will no longer host the 2021 Club World Cup due to ongoing problems with coronavirus.

After hosting the 2020 Olympics, Japan were set to put on the international club football tournament – usually held in December – but have decided to relinquish its right to the event after discussions with FIFA.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) were preparing to stage the competition for the first time in five years, but with coronavirus-related issues still lingering fears grew as to whether the decision would be profitable.

According to Japanese outlet Kyodo News Agency, the JFA chief executive Kiyotaka Suhara revealed the decision in a virtual press conference following a board meeting on Thursday.

Suhara explained "we had to make a decision at this time", and the news follows on from the JFA president Kozo Tashima claiming that the federation had to "dip into savings" due to the absence of supporters at national team fixtures throughout the year.

FIFA is yet to comment or announce an alternate location or dates for the Club World Cup, but the announcement further compounds Japan's problems after they were forced to cancel a friendly match with England earlier in 2021.

The Premier League is among a group of major European leagues that are "firmly and unanimously" against FIFA's proposals to hold the World Cup every two years.

The men's World Cup has taken place every four years since the inaugural edition in 1930, aside from 1942 and 1946 due to the Second World War, while the women's World Cup has followed suit since it was first staged in 1991. 

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been campaigning to shorten the gap in his role as the governing body's chief of global football development. 

Meanwhile, the FIFA congress in May saw a vote go heavily in favour of carrying out a feasibility study into the project. 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the European governing body had "serious reservations and grave concerns" surrounding the concept, while Spain and Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets warned that players will "explode" should the plans come to fruition.

The Premier League, along with the other so-called "big five leagues" and several other competitions, is a member of the European Leagues group, which released a statement on Thursday saying: "The leagues have firmly and unanimously opposed any proposals to organise the FIFA World Cup every two years.

"The leagues will work together with the other stakeholders to prevent football governing bodies taking unilateral decisions that will harm domestic football, which is the foundation of our industry and of utmost importance for clubs, players and fans across Europe and the world.

"New competitions, revamped competitions or expanded competitions for club and national team football both at continental level and/or at global level are not the solutions to the current problems of our game in an already congested calendar.

"The football calendar definitely requires the agreement of all stakeholders and can only be the result of a subtle balance between club and national team football and between domestic and international club football."

Brazil coach Tite feels Argentina showed a lack of respect in the decision-making process that saw four players allegedly breach coronavirus regulations ahead of Sunday's doomed World Cup qualifier.

The fixture was suspended mid-game due to Argentina's Premier League players apparently flouting Brazil's coronavirus restrictions.

Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso started the match, with Brazilian health officials entering the pitch after the game had kicked off. A melee ensued before Argentina left the field and did not return.

Due to the pandemic, Brazil is temporarily restricting entry to travellers from the United Kingdom if they have spent time in the country within the previous two weeks. The Selecao had attempted to call up nine players from the English top flight, but none of those selected travelled as Premier League clubs united in an agreement not to release players.

FIFA has since launched an investigation into the match's interruption, with disciplinary cases opened against the national associations of both Argentina and Brazil.

While Tite would rather the health officials had not stormed the pitch, he also believes football should not think it is above the law.

Asked what would be the "fair" decision regarding the outcome of the match, he said: "The fair decision is to respect the laws. The fair decision is to put people's health first. The fair decision is that sport is important but has a scale of importance on which health is higher. The laws are above this [football].

"I wish the game had happened, [but] we need laws, and to respect those laws. Football is not above that. It has to be respected. We're dealing with lives. It's about health.

"Coming here and going over laws and circumventing situations ... this does not happen. Of course I'd like the game to have happened.

"I cannot judge what happened. I do not know enough to know what was done and at what time it was done. I cannot judge it and I should not judge it.

"But to be above the law, you have to have a little respect. Respect for the entity, for a country, for its people, for a club, for a national team. Calm and respect."

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