FIFA Continues Push for Biennial World Cup

FIFA, the global governing body for football, has held a virtual conference ahead of the winter holidays in which it continued to push the idea of holding a World Cup every two years. The idea seems sound from many points of view, ranging from more opportunities for Betway sports betting fans to bet on high-profile matches to the teams themselves getting more money for development and growth. But for every argument for the new format, there is one against it that some of the big names in football, along with some regional organizations, never fail to bring up.

Much more revenue

According to the numbers crunched by FIFA, holding a World Cup every two years instead of every four years today would generate extra revenues in excess of $4.4 billion in a four-year cycle. These numbers are based on a couple of independent feasibility studies ordered by the organization. This would mean around $16 million, on average, in additional funds for every FIFA member association – this is, of course, a preliminary number with no clear insight on how the extra funds would be distributed.

As for the long-term effects of a tighter World Cup schedule, a study conducted by OpenEconomics suggests that it could generate up to $180 billion in GDP growth over a 16-year period and create up to 2 million new full-time jobs, something that many areas sorely need.

Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, has made it clear that the organization’s intention is to bridge the gap between member associations and give all of them a realistic chance to play on a global scale.

CAF for it, UEFA and CONMEBOL against it

The opinions of regional football associations differ on the matter, though. The Confederation of African Football – CAF – gave the plan its backing earlier this year, saying that it would support a biennial World Cup if the new schedule is proven to be feasible. Football fans in Africa and Asia are also open to the idea – surveys conducted in these areas have shown that the vast majority would be in favour of the switch.

UEFA – the governing body of European football, representing some of the strongest and most popular football leagues – and CONMEBOL – the South American Football Confederation, also representing quite a few major football nations – are, in turn, against it.

UEFA has issued its own report on the feasibility of the biennial World Cup that contradicts those forwarded by FIFA. The study shows that the switch to a biennial format would harm European football, especially when it comes to the clubs’ finances. This is coupled with a major opposition to the idea from the fans surveyed, especially in countries with some of the strongest football leagues – Germany, England, and France.

According to UEFA, the new schedule would not only cost European national associations between 2.5 and 3 billion euros in a four-year cycle but also take a serious toll on the physical and mental well-being of the players themselves.

 

We are preparing for a new edition of the World Cup next year. The event hosted by Qatar will be the last one in its current format – the following edition, no matter if it’s held in 2024 or 2026, will expand to 48 teams from the current 32. The international match calendars expire in 2023 for women’s football and in 2024 for men’s – this means that we’ll see the discussions about the updated format conclude at least by then.