The European Club Association warned that FIFA’s biennial plan for World Cup would negatively impact the club game and the decision is a direct and ‘unilateral breach’ of various legal obligations.
World football’s governing body has proposed a men’s World Cup every two years as part of an overhauled international match calendar (IMC).
The representation of more than 230 clubs across the continent ECA said that some “changes are needed” to the International Match Calendar to make it “modernized and simpler” adding that they were disappointed with the plans of FIFA and the way they were heading about it.
The association statement added, “followed with grave concern and alarm Fifa’s launch of active PR campaigns and much pretense, apparently seeking to railroad through reforms to the IMC, particularly the introduction of a biennial World Cup”.
European football’s governing body Uefa has said the plans created four significant “dangers” for football, including a potential loss in prestige for the World Cup and concerns over player welfare.
The statement warned that Fifa’s proposals would lead to a direct and destructive impact on the club game, both domestically and internationally.
ECA added, “In addition, the proposals would put players’ health and wellbeing at risk. They would dilute the value and meaning of club and country competitions.”
“They would diminish and conflict with women’s and youth football – being under-represented areas of the game where ECA and others are committing significant time, talent, and resources – while also subordinating other sporting tournaments and interests at all levels worldwide,” said ECA.
“Given the centrality of the IMC to club football, and of club football to the IMC, ECA reiterates in the most unambiguous terms that any decisions relating to its future can only come about with the consent of football clubs, with player welfare at their heart – and in keeping with legally binding obligations which ordinarily should not need restating.”
It rejected Wenger’s suggestion the new schedule would improve the competitive chances of smaller nations, and said the development of women’s football, with tournaments “deprived of exclusive slots and overshadowed by the proximity of top men’s events”, would be impacted.
Earlier, 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.
In an interview, Arsene Wenger – Fifa’s head of global development – said that proposals would tackle “chaos” and “congestion” in the game.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of Global Football Development, said earlier that in the month of September he was “100 percent convinced” of the change in World Cup format.