From the Viewsroom

A controversial move by FIFA

B Baskar | Updated on September 12, 2021

A biennial FIFA World Cup is sure to devalue this marquee event

FIFA, the global governing body of football, unveiled in Doha last week a proposal of holding the World Cup every two years, instead of every four years as it is being held since 1930. FIFA’s pointsman and former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s argument is there will be fewer qualifying matches, putting less stress on players with less international travel. Wenger says the new schedule will help clubs as there will be less disruption to the domestic leagues.

The proposal has the support of former greats such as Ronaldo, Jurgen Klinsmann, Peter Schmeichel and Didier Drogba. FIFA has been pitching this move as being “more democratic” as it gives more nations a chance to play in the World Cup. The World Cup has already been expanded to 48 teams, from the current 32, from the 2026 World Cup. So this has already given nations that have failed to qualify so far a greater chance to play in the World Cup. A biennial event will be a win-win for such nations.

But critics claim that hidden behind all this pious talk of democratisation and inclusiveness, is FIFA’s real intention — money. A biennial World Cup is sure to fill up the coffers of the national football federations whose votes are crucial for the current FIFA chief’s re-election. UEFA, the European governing body, and European Clubs Association, have come down hard on the proposal as they rightly fear a disruption to the current football calendar which is already overloaded. The Clubs’ fears are justified as they are the ones that pay the players’ wages. Even the IOC has frowned on FIFA’s move as it fears a diminution of the summer Olympics.

But the most ridiculous argument trotted out in favour of a biennial event is that it will give Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi a greater chance to win it. They may be the best players in the world but that still doesn’t give them an entitlement over the Cup.

After all, former greats such as Puskas, Cryuff, Platini and Baggio too couldn’t win the Cup. Di Stefano and George Best didn’t even get to play in one. And that certainly hasn’t diminished their stature.

Published on September 12, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

You May Also Like