The European Commission said on Thursday it was concerned about FIFA’s plan to make the World Cup a biennial event.
“I fully share the skepticism of national European football federations about the possibility of a biennial World Football Cup,” said Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission’s vice-president responsible for promoting our European lifestyle. “Europe is the world epicenter of football and we have a duty to maintain a model that respects the interests of fans, the well-being of players and the general logic of the global sports calendar, not just commercial interests.”
The intervention of the Commission was the result of FIFA, the governing body of world football. feasibility study Evaluate the impact of moving the World Cup to a two-year schedule instead of every four years.
Initially proposed by Saudi Arabia and prominently supported by former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, the FIFA plan received the support of the national federations. Africa and Asia. But according to a report commissioned by FIFA questionnaire Last week, football fans still support the four-year World Cup cycle – and influential continental confederations aren’t on board either.
Inside Declaration On Wednesday, UEFA, European football’s governing body, said it had “serious concerns” about the FIFA plan and that it posed “real dangers” to football, that it would devalue the World Cup, potentially harm players and have a negative impact on women’s tournaments. .
Schinas’ intervention will also be echoed by European lawmakers, who are currently discussing a self-initiated report on the EU’s sport policy.
According to this a change According to the Parliament’s report, put forward by MPs from Parliament’s political groups, the culture committee will vote at the end of October to invite sports organizations to “respect the established frequency of international sports tournaments, in particular the European and World Championships”.
Tomasz Frankowski, a former professional football player and co-chairman of the parliamentary sports group, said: “As a former football player, I fear there is a serious risk to the health of players who have to participate in high-intensity competitions during the summer months. every year instead of longer recovery breaks in alternate years.”
“These plans will replace regular matches with final tournaments, leading to erosion of sporting opportunities for weaker national teams,” he added.
Earlier this month, the powerful South American football confederation opposed the biennial World Cup plan, and UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said European countries could boycott the event, effectively leading to death in the water.
FIFA did not specifically respond to Schinas’ comment, adding that he was “open-minded” and “encouraged everyone to share their perspectives in a spirit of positive dialogue”.
This story has been updated.