FIFA wants your feedback on a biennial World Cup -- let them have it

The timeless British soccer journalist Brian Glanville turned 90 last week, reminding me of his famous quote about former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The now disgraced functionary, Glanville once observed, has "50 ideas before breakfast, and 51 of them are bad." Which brings to mind the current initiative of his successor, Gianni Infantino, who is attempting to push through his idea of staging the World Cup every two years.

Except that this bad idea is not a new one at all. Blatter first proposed it in an interview with the Sunday edition of the Swiss tabloid SonntagsBlick back in 1999. The European Championship should also be staged every two years, he added, serving at the same time as a qualifying tournament for the next World Cup. Blatter claimed to have already informed FIFA's Executive Committee, which was in the process of setting up study groups to further explore the issue.

Not true, an unnamed FIFA vice president at the time told the German news agency dpa. Blatter was acting like a "lone wolf," they said, just like his autocratic predecessor, the chronically corrupt Joao Havelange. Europe's soccer governing body UEFA was also in the dark. "We're surprised that Mr. Blatter has not informed us about this before going public," an official told German daily Die Welt. The idea was promptly written off as another one of Blatter's random, blank-brained pre-breakfast notions, and thankfully forgotten.

Until now, that is, with Infantino's revival of this unnecessary, lame and already discredited attempt to double FIFA's income from the world's most popular sporting event. Having failed to sell FIFA's future to a shady consortium of financial concerns for $25 billion in 2018 (he met internal resistance to this disgraceful plan when he twice tried to ram it through FIFA Council meetings in Bogota and Kigali), Infantino has blown the dust off Blatter's Portfolio of Folly and cheerfully tried to persuade the world that a biennial World Cup is not just a great idea, but that pretty much everyone in our joyful, united soccer world already backs it.

In an audacious and nigh-on slapstick press release earlier this month, headlined "Majority of fans favor more frequent men's FIFA World Cups – global survey," Infantino's press underlings informed us that an "online survey" taken during July had shown that, among 15,000 people in 23 unspecified nations, "the majority of fans would like to see a more frequent men's FIFA World Cup."  And that, "of this majority, the preferred frequency is biennial." In fact, of those polled the number in favor of a biennial World Cup was 30 percent. Eleven percent of those surveyed wanted a World Cup every year, 14 percent every three years, and the most popular choice was to keep the tournament taking place every four years -- 45 pecent. But you have to dig deep into FIFA's web site to find that stat.

There were two interesting but unquantified claims at the end of FIFA's press release. The first was that "there are considerable differences [in opinion] between the so-called traditional markets and the developing football markets," and the second was that "younger generations in all regions are more open and interested in change than older generations." As well as presenting slanted stats, FIFA's making sly and subjective suggestions that only old and outdated conservatives are resisting brave, bold FIFA's thrust toward change, progress and innovation.

Fortunately, there is resistance from other quarters to further over-crowding the soccer calendar and demeaning the value of a great event. The world's sporting press is more or less unanimous in its opposition, and didn't take kindly to having its intelligence insulted by FIFA's media relations department. UEFA is no more impressed with the idea than it was 22 years ago after Blatter's first dunder-headed flush of inspiration. And the powerful, perennially self-interested European Club Association will grant no ground in giving up its valuable and over-taxed players to even more -- already bloated -- international tournaments.

In one respect, FIFA is right - the International federation Match Calendar needs reforming and improving. You can make your suggestions here. Whether Infantino's FIFA can be trusted to collate the results and present them in an honest and transparent manner is another question. No matter what your view, though, the least you can do is to let them know how you feel.

17 comments about "FIFA wants your feedback on a biennial World Cup -- let them have it".
  1. Kenneth Marshall, September 27, 2021 at 4:23 p.m.

    The current format of World Cup tournaments every 4 years is fine.  This allows for suffucuent time in between to develop younger players and youth leagues which in turn will mature every 4 years into a good level of quality of play at the senior level required of the World Cup.  Anything more frequent will hurry the process and make for a lower quality product.  Just for once, good judgement should prevail over the eagerness of those who want to create greater revenue and satisfy what many of us regard as ill advised greed.

  2. James Madison, September 27, 2021 at 4:25 p.m.

    Bravo, Kenneth!!

  3. beautiful game, September 27, 2021 at 4:42 p.m.

    Blatter and The Don Infantino et al have enough experience in gaslighting the soccer world just  like many global self-serving politicians. FIFA's constant denial-deceit-disinformation tactic is typical of  PSY-OPS in their attempt to woo general support in order to cash-in with total disregard to the health and well being of the players that make FIFA so a revenue successful. 

  4. Bob Ashpole, September 27, 2021 at 5:20 p.m.

    For some it is all about the money, not the game.

  5. Jack DiGiorgio, September 27, 2021 at 5:23 p.m.

    Absolutely NO. IT WILL TAKE AWAY THE INTEREST OF ACHIEVING THAT GOAL EVERY 4 YEARS... AND where are they're going to squeeze in the European, South America and all others championships?

  6. John Soares, September 27, 2021 at 5:36 p.m.

    Bob, for some!?.....
    I think for most :)

  7. R2 Dad, September 27, 2021 at 5:59 p.m.

    The FIFA WC tourney every 4 years is a success, as is UEFA Champions League. If FIFA was smart instead of greedy they would see what could be done to make other confederation's Champions League as popular as UEFA's. THAT would be progress, and could repair FIFA's horrendous reputation. Not that they care. 

  8. Kent James, September 27, 2021 at 10:05 p.m.

    Declaring that the survey (with all its flaws) showed that the "majority" wanted a more frequent WC, without also pointing at that the largest (by a good ways) single option was keeping it every 4 years, is some serious gaslighting.  Everyone else has done a good job explaining why a more frequent WC is a bad idea.  I like considering new ideas, but this one is horrible.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

  9. Wayne Norris, September 27, 2021 at 10:46 p.m.

    4 years......part of what makes it so special

  10. David Richardson, September 28, 2021 at 12:58 p.m.

    I realize it would make a lot of money for a lot of different entities and that drives changes these days.   For all of us purists out here it would cheapen and tarnish the value of the Cup by holding the competition it every two years. 

  11. Mark Landefeld, September 28, 2021 at 5:09 p.m.

    Why the heck aren't continental championship a part of the WC qualifying process?  I don't think any explanation short of greed makes sense. That's where the international calendar reform should start.

    Infantino's plan is a acknowledgement that FIFA really didn't understand how to present and market the Confederations Cup, which should be a scaled down WC alternative forthe in-between biennial.

  12. uffe gustafsson, September 28, 2021 at 5:36 p.m.

    How about the practical side of hosting WC
    as in building stadiums and other facilities.
    it's a bad idea all around.

  13. Bob Ashpole replied, September 28, 2021 at 6:10 p.m.

    Not to mention it would be a gross exploitation of the professional clubs.

  14. Alvaro Bettucchi, September 28, 2021 at 11:01 p.m.

    I, for one, think the World Cup should be once every four years. The European Cup of Champions and the European Cup, leave as is. The Open Cup in each country, I would do away with that, or leave it for the teams that have not qualified for the Two Europeans cups. With the league championships, the European championships, and then you add the Open Cups, it's to many games for the players and fans. Also, a way must be found to lower the enormus payments to the players and teams. It has gotten out of hand. The average family, cannot take their families to watch the  games, because of the cost.

  15. uffe gustafsson replied, September 29, 2021 at 7:18 p.m.

    The actual ticket price was not to bad.
    went to women's WC in france but add the airfare and lodging it got expensive. We paid way more for tickets when the European clubs comes to bay area to play those summer tornament's. Though I look at is part of our bucket list to watch the WC. We went to vancover for that WC and that one was awesome, great city and great games.
    New Zealand/ Australian is out of our league to visit.

  16. John Theuerkauf, September 30, 2021 at 11:19 a.m.

    NO WAY !!!!

  17. Carlos Drake, October 14, 2021 at 4:12 p.m.

    Infantino's latest comments about the Super Bowl being every year, so why can't we have a World Cup every two, is a clear indicator of how idiotic his mentality is in wanting to change the current World Cup frequency and format.  The Super Bowl is a one day event with league culminating play offs that lead up to it.  The NFL regular season is 5-6 months with a long off season recovery period.  The World Cup is a month long competition (in it's current format) with National teams coming together after their players complete their club commitments.  There is no "real" recovery time for the athletes.  The truth is, club competitions (like Champions League) is kicking FIFA's butt, ($$$) and they are wanting to be the top dogs by making "National Teams" more relevant with a World Cup every other year.  How will that work exactly?  And, how do you squeeze in World Cup qualifiers?   The guy is an idiot!  This is exactly why people that never played the sport professionaly should not be in charge of any federation let alone FIFA!!  Go back to work in whatever you did before weaseling yourself into FIFA!

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