FIFA Seeks Alternatives To Biennial World Cup Plan

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FIFA’s strongly opposed plans to hold the World Cup on a biennial basis are not on the agenda for this week’s congress, but talks are instead set to focus on alternative proposals.

While FIFA delegates will hear an update on consultations over changes to the international match calendar, the controversial proposal to hold the World Cup every two years, instead of the current four-year format, will not be voted on.

The World Cup plan, put forward by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development Arsene Wenger and backed by president Gianni Infantino, was met with strong opposition from European football governing body UEFA and the leading European clubs.

The Doha congress on Thursday had been seen as a potentially decisive battle over the idea, but on Tuesday Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of the European Club Association, said he was not surprised at its absence from the agenda.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of the European Club Association and President of Paris St Germain (PSG)

“For us it is not an idea, basically, so we don’t think we need to discuss it … it doesn’t exist for us. I think I cannot be more clear,” said the Qatari, who is also president of French side Paris St Germain (PSG).

World soccer governing body FIFA says that discussions continue over Wenger’s plans to reform the calendar, which sets out which tournaments and matches are held throughout the season. The current agreement on the calendar runs out in 2024.

With strong opposition to the biennial plan, European officials are now engaged in the broader calendar talks which are expected to intensify this week in informal settings.

The next World Cup in Qatar starts in November and the draw for the tournament will take place in Doha on Friday.

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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