BUENOS AIRES — FIFA is exploring the potential for staging the World Cup each two years, moderately than each 4, the president of South American soccer’s governing physique confirmed on Friday.
Alejandro Dominguez, the president of the South American physique, Conmebol, submitted the proposal at a FIFA congress in Kigali, Rwanda, in October. Dominguez mentioned Friday biennial World Cup would function a viable — and even preferable — various to the expanded continental championships like UEFA’s Nations League and the Copa América.
Aleksander Ceferin, Dominguez’s counterpart at UEFA, has made clear his want to incorporate South American groups into Europe’s new Nations League championship in some unspecified time in the future. Though Dominguez, a Paraguayan, insisted he was not opposed to that concept, he mentioned that he had inspired FIFA to look at the advantages of fixing the World Cup’s cycle as a substitute.
Any proposed modifications to the World Cup, FIFA’s marquee occasion, are positive to face opposition. A current enlargement of the quadrennial event from its present 32 groups to 48 for the 2026 occasion provoked fierce opposition earlier than it was authorised unanimously in 2017. Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s former president, floated the thought of a World Cup each two years as early as 1999, however the idea failed to garner help.
But since assuming his publish in 2016, FIFA’s present president, Gianni Infantino, has been supportive of each new occasions and main modifications to soccer’s worldwide calendar, together with the World Cup enlargement, a so-called mini World Cup of eight teams in off cycles and a multibillion-dollar proposal for an expanded club world championship. Each would produce vital new revenue for FIFA.
Sponsors are far more likely to invest in sports organizations that hold major events every two years rather than every four, something the International Olympic Committee has experienced. In the 1990s it started alternating the Summer and Winter Games every two years.
The increased revenue would allow Infantino to follow through on campaign pledges to return more of FIFA’s billions to its member associations, and it also could serve to fend off power plays by rivals to Infantino, especially in Europe, as he prepares to run for re-election next year.
On Friday, Conmebol cast its lot with the president, announcing that it would support Infantino’s bid for another term.
Doubling the frequency of soccer’s most glamorous tournament, however, not only would bring considerable economic benefits but also would allow players to experience the World Cup far more often in their careers, Dominguez said Friday.
“I never say no; I always say, why not?” Dominguez said on the eve of this weekend’s Copa Libertadores final in Buenos Aires. “We always wanted to have a global Nations League, and we always will support an idea like that, or a proposal as we have made to FIFA, which is to do the World Cup every two years and not every four.
“Instead of having a Nations League in between, we can just go ahead and do a World Cup every two years.”
He stressed that a shortened schedule would give more players the opportunity to compete in the World Cup, and the best chance to play in more of them. (Dominguez has championed expanding the 2022 Qatar World Cup to 48 teams, a proposal that is also under consideration by FIFA.)
“If we stay with this format, many players could not play more than two,” Dominguez said. “So we see an opportunity there. There is a proposal put forward to FIFA to take it over, and say whether it is a global Nations League or whether there is an opportunity to play the World Cup every two years.”
Such a move, Dominguez said, also would allow FIFA to alternate the tournament much more easily among its six member confederations. There would be “more solutions,” he said.
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