FIFA has not proposed biennial World Cup – Infantino

On this handout picture released by Chile’s National Professional Football Association (ANFP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino speaks during a press conference in Santiago, on October 17, 2021. (Photo by Carlos PARRA / ANFP / AFP)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has dismissed the plans for a biennial World Cup as he claimed the changes were never a formal proposal.

The prospects of those plans coming to fruition now appear over after Infantino told the FIFA Congress, with 211 member-associations in attendance, that the governing body never proposed the changes.

“Let me clarify one thing here —— and I want to speak about some of the discussions and speculations on a biennial World Cup,” he said on Thursday during his speech in Doha where the Congress is holding.

“FIFA has not proposed a biennial World Cup.”

Led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, FIFA had promoted the idea for the World Cup to shift format and take place every two years.

It was an idea strongly opposed by both the European ruling body UEFA and South American counterparts CONMEBOL.

Infantino claimed the alterations would yield significant financial returns if the plans were approved, with a boost of 4.4 billion dollars in the first four-year cycle of a new international calendar.

And this would climb to 6.6 billion dollars if each confederation also switched its regional competition to become biennial.

FIFA also published results from a study that claimed “the majority” of football fans would like to see more frequent World Cups.

On the other hand, UEFA said an independent survey called the proposals “alarming.”

“Let’s get the process clear,” said Infantino. “The last FIFA Congress asked the FIFA administration for a vote and 88 per cent voted in favour to study the feasibility of that and some other projects for women’s and youth football.

“The FIFA administration, under the leadership of Arsene Wenger, did that. We studied the feasibility. But FIFA did not propose anything.

“FIFA came to the conclusion that it was feasible, but it would have some repercussions and impacts. The next phase was consultation and discussions and trying to find agreements and compromises.

“In addition to the confederations and the member-associations, the clubs and the players present here as well, we tried to have a discussion and a debate to find what was most suitable for everyone.

“Everyone has to benefit, the big ones have to become bigger with the whole movement, and the smaller ones have to benefit to give opportunities to everyone and I’m thanking everyone for their input, their feedback, positive or negative.

“What is important is we have put national team football back on the agenda all over the world, we have to talk with the clubs, of course, which is the biggest part of where the players are playing.”(dpa/NAN)

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