UEFA: WC plans will ‘cannibalise’ women’s game


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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has reiterated his opposition to FIFA’s plans to stage a biennial World Cup, saying the women’s tournament or the Olympics would be affected if they were held in the same year as the finals.

The European football governing body and its South American counterpart CONMEBOL have strongly opposed the idea which FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said would create an extra $4.4 billion in revenue for the world football organisation.

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“Europe and South America are against [the plan] and those are the only [continents with] World Cup winners in history. The problem is that the World Cup has to be every four years to be interesting,” Ceferin said at the Expo 2020 Dubai fair.

“Second, if it would be every two years, it would cannibalise women’s football because it would be at the same year as the women’s football [World Cup], other sports, the Olympic Games — many mistakes.

“It’s simply a bad idea and it will not happen because it is a bad idea, not because we are opposing it.”

FIFA’s plans had the International Olympic Committee (IOC) worried with attendees at a summit earlier this month voicing “serious concerns” over the proposals and its impact on the world sporting calendar.

“Why are the Olympic Games every four years? Because it’s an event that you have to look forward [to], that you have to wait [for], and you have to enjoy it,” Ceferin added.

“And it’s the biggest football event — it has to be every four years. But it’s very clear — 75% of fans around the world reject the idea [of a biennial World Cup].”

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski have also said they are not keen on FIFA’s plan to hold the World Cup every two years.

“I’m not a fan. We already have so many games to play every each year, so many tough weeks, not only matches because we have a lot of weeks of preparation whether for the season or for big tournaments,” Lewandowski said.

“If we have a World Cup every two years, the period where footballers will be able to play at a high level will decrease.

“It is physically and psychologically impossible. If you want to last in football, you need resting periods.”

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