The European football governing body UEFA has urged FIFA to stop pushing its idea of a biennial World Cup and engage in “genuine consultation” about the reforms in the international football calendar.
In a statement, UEFA said, “UEFA is disappointed with the methodology adopted, which has so far led to radical reform projects being communicated and openly promoted before having been given, together with other stakeholders, the chance to participate in any consultation meeting.”
The European football governing body added that there were countless issues about the aftermath of such a switch, including the “dilution” of the World Cup’s value, risks of players being over-worked, and women’s football suffering from annual men’s tournaments.
“These are just some of the serious concerns that the FIFA proposal provokes at first glance and they cannot be dispelled simply with unsubstantiated promotional slogans on the supposed benefits of a thicker calendar for final tournaments,” the statement added.
UEFA said it had asked, on September 14, for a formal meeting with FIFA and the 55 European member associations to settle the issue and has yet to get a reply.
The UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin warned that European teams would boycott the World Cup if FIFA plans to change the existing schedule went ahead.
UEFA President added, “We can decide not to play in it.”
“As far as I know, the South Americans are on the same page. So good luck with a World Cup like that. I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football.” He added.
In recent months, the governing body of world football FIFA has been looking into the practicability of holding a two-year World Cup, an alteration from the current four-yearly cycle, but has not yet made any secret of its desire to switch to such a plan.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of Global Football Development, said that this month he was “100 percent convinced” of the change in World Cup format.
Last week, FIFA published an online poll that claimed a majority of football fans support the idea of a “more frequent” World Cup – and of those respondents, a majority preferred a biennial competition.
FIFA later revealed a more detailed summary of the results which showed that while a majority of those surveyed favored a more frequent tournament, the largest amount of support among all age groups was to maintain the status quo of holding the event every four years.
The only continental confederation whose fans did not place every four years as the most popular answer was in Africa where there was a tie on 35 per cent for a time gap of four years and two years.