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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Saudis put World Cup each 2 years again on FIFA’s agenda

GENEVA (AP) — Taking part in the World Cup each two years as an alternative of 4 is again on soccer’s agenda.

Saudi Arabia’s soccer federation has formally requested FIFA to take a look at staging biennial World Cups for women and men, soccer’s world physique stated Tuesday.

The proposal “requesting a feasibility research to be carried out on the influence” of taking part in each tournaments each two years might be put to the FIFA annual assembly of 211 member federations. The congress is being held as a distant assembly on Friday.

A biennial males’s World Cup was floated by FIFA’s then-president Sepp Blatter greater than 20 years in the past.

The concept now returns close to the tip of the busiest and most congested season in trendy soccer.

In Europe, the identical variety of competitions and video games for membership and nationwide groups had been performed regardless of a number of weeks being misplaced as a result of the earlier pandemic-delayed season pushed again the begin to September.

Nonetheless, the proposal is enticing to FIFA whose president Gianni Infantino has constructed an in depth relationship with Saudi Arabia since his election in 2016.

Creating new and greater competitions is a key theme of Infantino’s presidency, although the worldwide gamers’ union FIFPRO warns of gamers dealing with burnout and accidents from larger workloads.

The primary yr of Infantino’s presidency noticed FIFA add 16 extra groups and 16 extra video games to the World Cup for the 2026 version. The 48-team, 80-game event might be hosted in the US, Canada and Mexico and will set attendance and income information.

FIFA was to launch a 24-team Membership World Cup event in China this yr. European soccer officers at first opposed the venture, citing Infantino’s lack of transparency in regards to the monetary backers.

The inaugural event was shelved final yr when the coronavirus pandemic pressured the European Championship and Copa America to be postponed to 2021.

The biennial World Cup thought was revived in 2018 by South American soccer chief Alejandro Dominguez, a FIFA vice chairman who was then an in depth ally of Infantino.

Dominguez and the South American soccer physique CONMEBOL have since moved nearer to officers at UEFA, whose quadrennial European Championship would probably be threatened by taking part in twice as many World Cups.

At the moment, every World Cup earns FIFA as much as $6 billion in broadcasting and industrial offers. The Euro 2016 event — which had 51 video games in comparison with 64 within the 32-team World Cup format — earned UEFA round $2.3 billion.

The concept each the boys’s World Cup and Euros could possibly be staged each two years was raised in March by teaching nice Arsene Wenger, who’s now FIFA’s head of world growth.

Each Wenger and Dominguez used the argument that gamers deserve extra possibilities to play in World Cups.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo each intention to play of their fifth World Cup in Qatar subsequent yr.

Infantino has constantly stated a Girls’s World Cup could possibly be held each two years. The following version in 2023 might be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

A separate proposal to Friday’s FIFA assembly from Jamaica requires “a world ladies’s soccer competitors idea to be ready.”

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Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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