World association

FIFA World Cup plan receives cold response from IOC Bach

FIFA President Gianni Infantino waves to the audience as they attend a press conference at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia on July 13, 2018. REUTERS / Sergei Karpukhin

September 8 (Reuters) – FIFA’s proposals to move to a biennial World Cup, which could see the tournament take place in the same year as the Summer Olympics, received a cold response from the president of the International Olympic Committee ( CIO), Thomas Bach.

Bach declined to say whether his organization participated in the consultation led by FIFA, of which President Gianni Infantino is a member of the IOC.

Bach said he did not want to “add fuel to the fire” of the debate within football, but added: “The consequences or potential consequences are becoming clearer day by day thanks to the discussion within FIFA and in particular through contributions from continental associations. “

“We are following these discussions closely and find them very interesting,” he said with a smile.

Infantino continued his efforts for changes to the international match schedule, holding a meeting with former players in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.

The FIFA president said a change was needed as there were too many meaningless matches and such a structure was not viable for the health of the players and the world game.

Infantino said it was difficult for players – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic – to leave their clubs and continue to travel from country to country.

“The current game schedule shows us that we have reached certain limits … we have to have a simple system, which clearly defines when there are national team games and when there are club games”, a- he declared.

The world’s football governing body’s ambitious plans for a World Cup every two years have come under heavy criticism from various stakeholders, including UEFA, clubs, players and groups. supporters. Read more

Critics pointed to the already busy annual schedule and argued that a flagship event like the World Cup would be significantly diluted if held every two years.

Infantino, however, reiterated that 88% of member associations voted in favor of the feasibility study, which was first proposed by the Saudi Football Association and is led by the head of world football development of the FIFA, Arsène Wenger.

The controversial idea has found support among the African Football Confederation and several countries in Asia.

“It is crucial to understand what the consultation process is … this is what we do: study the schedule, consult with everyone, starting of course with the protagonists in football, the main players in football – the players, the coaches. “

World Leagues Forum, the association that represents all the major professional leagues, said in a statement: “The World Cup … interests ultimately.”

Despite the protests, Infantino added that a new game schedule will likely be in place by 2024, when the current men’s cycle ends.

“This overall process is comprehensive … so by 2024 we need to have a new match schedule. That’s why we need to make decisions by the end of this year.”

Additional reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar

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