Saudi Arabia made a proposal during the FIFA's annual congress in May of this year. Saudi Arabia has formally proposed to organize the World Cup every two years. FIFA has decided to evaluate their proposal. A feasibility study has already been started in this regard. UEFA, on the other hand, is not pleased with such a decision. If the World Cup is held every two years, they believe that the existing UEFA games would clash with different competitions. UEFA will face significant challenges as a result of this; while FIFA President Infantino endorses this plan considering its financial prospect.
Saudi Arabia's FIFA World Cup Proposal
Saudi Arabia’s plan to conduct FIFA World Cup event every two years instead of four has already been approved by FIFA's Congress. The Saudi proposal was carried by the assembly, with 166 national federations approving and just 22 votings against evaluating the existing position.
Yasser Al-Misehal, head of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation, requested a feasibility assessment on the move during a meeting in May, 2021. He believes football's future is in jeopardy, particularly because the recent coronavirus outbreak has worsened the sport's recent issues.
FIFA president Infantino endorsed Saudi Arabia's proposal, saying it will help the organization boost its economy in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.
What is Asia's Take on the Proposal?
The football federations of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, and Bangladesh have officially endorsed the proposal, suggesting that the world football calendar needed to be updated to reflect the contemporary age, according to a joint statement.
According to a spokesperson for the ASEAN Football Federation, other Asian countries are becoming more interested in the concept.
The number of Asian teams competing in the World Cup is usually low. Only 4 to 5 of the 32 countries are given the opportunity to compete in the World Cup. However, Asia is home to over half of the world’s population. Asia will gain a lot if the new regulations are implemented.
That is why the majority of Asian football federations are excited about Saudi Arabia's proposal. Furthermore, instead of 32 teams, the World Cup will be open to a total of 48 countries starting in 2026. As a result, more Asian nations will have the opportunity to participate in the World Cup.
What is the Position of UEFA on the Proposal?
The World Cup is held every two years, and UEFA is not interested in this kind of proposal. European Football Federation is unhappy with FIFA's approach to implementing this proposal. They have already voiced its position.
Aside from continental football competitions, hosting the World Cup every two years has the potential to cause schedule conflicts with UEFA Club Football, Nations League, and the Olympic Games. Therefore, UEFA believes such a move is illogical.
Interestingly, the former Arsenal manager and current FIFA head of global football development Arsene Wenger is backing the proposal to stage World Cup every two years rather than every four years. Wenger stated in a recent interview that it will be a global initiative for both men's and women's football. He is confident that this initiative will help to popularize the game even further.
Meanwhile, UEFA has a plan to speak out against FIFA's proposal to stage World Cup every two years next week. They hope that they would be able to gather more support by going through this approach.
It will be a difficult task to organize the World Cup every two years. Continental football tournaments are also organized outside of the World Cup. These championships are held in Asia, South America, and Europe every four years. The African continent, on the other hand, organizes a continental football competition every two years. Furthermore, UEFA already has a busy calendar with domestic football competitions. As a result of this, FIFA will face a significant challenge in hosting the World Cup every two years.