By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The former Arsenal FC Manager, Arsene Wenger, often referred to as “the Professor” because of his football punditry, who is now the chief of global football development at FIFA, the world governing body of association football, has officially set out his proposals for the FIFA World Cup, for men and also for women, to be held every two years instead of every four years.
These proposals have not gone down entirely well within the so-called ‘football family’!
The President of UEFA, the European governing body, Alexsander Ceferin, has condemned them stating that that they will “dilute” the tournament, and has threatened a boycott.
Cristiano Ronaldo, and other players, have welcomed the proposals and, with the support of the non-European football nations, FIFA hopes to get the proposals approved by the end of this year. However, it is expected that they will not be finally approved by the 211 member associations of FIFA until May of next year.
In defending his proposals, Wenger has commented as follows:
“It is a fact that we are moving to 48 countries at the World Cup from 2026, with Africa going from five spaces to nine.
But more frequent World Cups mean more opportunities for countries to participate.
Big players want to play big games. Every player dreams to play in top competitions.”
“And it is the repeated travelling of the current schedule that is more detrimental than the number of games.”
However, one might comment that the current football schedule of national, regional and international competitions is already overcrowded.
But Wenger has responded by stating that he has created a programme that “makes football better.”
It will be very interesting to see how matters evolve and whether these controversial proposals are adopted in due course.