Gareth Bale Adds Voice Against FIFA's Proposal for Biennial World Cups
The initial proposal for biennial World Cups was tabled by Saudi Arabia's Football Federation.
Wales’ captain Gareth Bale made it clear, like many other footballers, that he is not at all in favour of FIFA’s new proposal of playing the World Cup every two years.
The proposal was initially submitted by the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and in May, FIFA’s members voted in favour of the proposal and approved the launch of a feasibility study.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is likely to be Bale’s last appearance at the showpiece tournament, but the winger said making the competition a biennial event would diminish its appeal.
“I like the tradition of every four years. It has that prestige, like the Olympics where it comes around every four years. It feels that little bit more special because it’s not happening too often,” Bale said.
“It does make it that bit more prestigious … I don’t really like that every two years because it loses that bit of history.”
Manchester City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano said the football calendar was already packed.
“There is no space for anything,” he said. “No room at all. The players cannot play more games.”
Nasser al-Khelaifi, the European Club Association (ECA) president and Paris St Germain chief executive, and Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani urged FIFA to engage with clubs on the matter.
“I would like every four years but perhaps there could be a discussion around every three,” Radrizzani added.
A joint statement signed by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and fans’ groups from across the six confederations called on FIFA to abandon their proposals.
“Such a move threatens to destroy the already fragile balance between local, domestic, continental, and international competitions and calendars,” the statement read.
“The game needs to change. But it needs to change for the better. We do not want or need more World Cups.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino backs the proposal to hold the World Cup every two years, an idea that's also been supported by ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is currently FIFA's chief of global football development.
Infantino, after the FIFA congress in May, said at a press conference: "You don’t need to be an Einstein to know that if you have the World Cup every two years you double the revenue.
"We have to go into these studies with an open mind. We know about the value of the World Cup and the impact of the World Cup."
Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets, last week, warned that the calendar is already packed and said that players will “explode”.
"They want more Euros, more World Cups, more club World Cups, more league games, more games for every competition. There will be a moment when the players will explode because the games are becoming more and more demanding and we have less time to rest.
"So it is so difficult to handle as we have seen recently with this pandemic, where some different competitions have clashed.
"All of this will bring some consequences, so it would be necessary to have a meeting and listen to all the parties."
(With Reuters inputs)
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