Berlin (dpa) – It was very nice when the two reluctant football players spoke one after another on the same stage on the hugely controversial topic.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has apologized – perhaps with sage insight – and only sent a video message to the ECA’s General Assembly. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has skillfully used the meeting to oppose FIFA’s careful study aimed at shortening the rhythm of the World Cup.
The Slovenian said of the billions of dollars that are currently held every four years, such as the European Championships, that world championships “have their value precisely because of their rarity”. Holding the World Cup every two years would reduce the value of the tournament itself. “More is not always better” – a sentence that hardly fits with the development of world football, Ceferin said.
From the 2026 World Cup with 48 teams
The controversial 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar for the last time, with 32 teams participating. For the tournament except for one in 2026 in the USA, Canada and Mexico, the number of participants will increase to 48 teams. The increase was one of Infantino’s promises to FIFA members when he was first elected in February 2016. In May, the World League Congress launched a feasibility study for the men’s and women’s tournaments. Inspired by Saudi Arabia, where Infantino is said to have good relations.
Not far away, in the World Cup host city of Doha, on Wednesday and Thursday, FIFA is convening a conference (online) for “a group of the best football players and coaches from six continents” on the future of “world football”. This includes a number of big names – from Germany, national record player Lothar Matthaus and former national coach Jürgen Klinsmann, as well as Rio world champion Sami Khedira. Everyone is looking for their allies.
“Dear friends,” Ceferin told delegates to the ECA General Assembly. European clubs have almost all the best players in the world under contract. It will be difficult for them to attend these often stressful major tournaments. On the other hand, some national associations in Europe are likely to support FIFA, which has been able to collect votes for the study, especially in Africa.
UEFA Conference in Nyon
On Thursday and Friday, UEFA will also host a major conference on the future of European football at its Nyon headquarters. “This is where we begin to embark on a brighter future together,” Ceferin said. Egyptian Chefs Association, UEFA, FIFA – all awarded. Arsene Wenger is a pivotal figure in the World League.
The successful former Arsenal manager is now appointed by FIFA as the head of global football development – and the 71-year-old has been sent on numerous occasions to promote a new World Cup rhythm. “There are now 211 countries in FIFA – and 133 of them have never played a World Cup. These countries watch every four years without any chance of participating,” Wenger told Kicker in the summer. As a privilege, clubs should only send their professionals to the national teams once or twice for a longer period of time rather than several times a year.
“The international matches calendar doesn’t need that,” Ceferin said on Monday. Even players don’t need another summer with the tournament instead of a break. Shortly after the UEFA president’s speech, it was announced that “unfortunately” Infantino could not attend in person. In his video message on a blue background from FIFA, the Swiss did not specifically refer to the World Cup plan, but clarified: “There are no taboo topics, the door to FIFA is open to every idea and every suggestion. (.. .) The struggle, as I hear it here and there.”
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