The world football governing body FIFA has said that the risk of the European countries’ boycott from the Biennial World Cup was not discussed at the meeting of the international football body on Wednesday.

More than a dozen of European nations have reportedly claimed that they were considering quitting FIFA if the tournament was played biennially.

After the conclusion of FIFA’s Council meeting on Wednesday, FIFA President Infantino said, “Discussions were heated but, they were positive.”

The President hopes that a “common consensus” would be found when the issue is discussed again at a global summit in December.

In a private conference call with the European football leaders on Tuesday, Infantino explained his plan which was roundly criticized by the 55 UEFA member associations.

The main decision-making body the FIFA Council – consisting of 37 elected representatives – then met on Wednesday and the plans for a new international match calendar were discussed.

“We have received some legitimate criticism and some enthusiastic comments as well…… It is so important for everyone to make their voice heard. Boycotts were not discussed today…… I am confident on 20 December we will be able to present a common solution.”

Infantino said that he did not know what any agreement would look like and did not confirm if a vote would be held at the summit.

It seems unlikely any decision will be made there, with Infantino suggesting the proposals face a drawn-out debate before being agreed, revised, or thrown out.

“For me, everything is open. It is not my proposal or decision,” he said. “I have to facilitate the dialogue and bring everyone together.”

Infantino said that the plan to hold both the men’s and women’s World Cups every two years, instead of four, is being considered for ‘sporting motivations, not financial ones’ adding that football must ‘rethink the way it is structured globally’ in order to ensure younger audiences are not turned away.

He said, “It is about our children and making sure they continue to fall in love with the game.”

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is chief of global football development at FIFA, is a key supporter of the proposals and has been speaking to numerous stakeholders in an effort to win support.

A feasibility study and economic assessment of the financial impact of the move are expected to be delivered before December’s summit.

After Wednesday’s council meeting, Infantino said, “I believe in working together we will come with something positive. Maybe it is a staged process, one step forward and one step back, or half a step or two steps.”

“I understand it is difficult for people to change things. We are here in good faith to work very hard to try and do something that is good for football.”

Infantino said that under the plan the men’s and women’s World Cups would be held alternately, meaning a tournament would be played every year.

He added, “Tournaments hosted by a single country are also likely to be “a thing of the past”

“One country to take up the burden of organizing a World Cup on its own is over. We know we can bring joy and unity, bring jobs to more than one country and we’re not asking one country to bankrupt itself.”

Meanwhile, Infantino confirmed the 2021 Club World Cup which will feature European champions Chelsea, will be played in early 2022 and take place in the United Arab Emirates.

Last month, Japan pulled out of hosting the tournament in December because of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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