The European Club Association on Friday called on the International Football Association (FIFA) to “agree” on the reforms that it intends to introduce to the international calendar, reminding “FIFA” of its commitments, while expressing its regret for the “lack of real consultation” on the plan to hold the World Cup every two years instead of every four years.
Like many stakeholders in world football, led by the European Union “UEFA”, the European Club Association followed with “great concern” FIFA’s launch of a “media campaign” to try to hold the World Cup every two years, according to Friday’s statement.
Basically, the European Club Association, which represents 247 clubs and includes most of the international players present at world finals, favors reducing the number of international windows to relieve pressure on players but not with the World Cup being held every two years.
And the legal director of the European Club Association, Michael Gerlinger, said earlier this month that there was “no place” in the current calendar to hold the World Cup every two years.
In the statement issued on Friday, the Association of Clubs considered that the FIFA project would “have a direct and destructive impact” on club football, “endanger the health and well-being of players,” “reduce the value and meaning of club and national championships” and “will conflict” with women’s championships. and youth.
The association, headed by Qatari Nasser Ghanem Al-Khelaifi, president of French Paris Saint-Germain, also condemned the “lack of real consultation, or even consultation at all” on the part of FIFA “in direct and unilateral violation of some legal obligations.”
In this way, the association refers to the agreement governing its relations with the world football body, which extends its current effects until 2024 and must be discussed again in the future, which in its view means the need for “detailed negotiations and joint approval of the international calendar.”
It is true that FIFA announced its desire to “listen to all opinions”, but so far it has revealed only one consultation plan, and it will be with its 211 member associations, in a virtual summit meeting next Thursday.
This meeting includes mostly the parties that will benefit from the proceeds of holding the World Cup every two times, ie the Asian, African and South American federations.
The European Club Association’s position was not in contradiction to what was issued on Wednesday by the European Football Association, which called on FIFA to conduct a “real consultation” on the project to organize the World Cup every two years.
“The future of the international calendar must be the subject of genuine consultation and exchange between FIFA, the confederations and the main stakeholders in the competitions,” UEFA said in a statement.
He added that the European Union took note of the “feasibility study” launched by “FIFA” in May regarding doubling the pace of its prestigious tournament “from 2028”, while it was held every four years since 1930 for men and 1991 for women.
Previously, Slovenian “UEFA” President Aleksandar Ceferin categorically rejected the idea and considered it “impossible” in light of the already heavy schedule, considering that holding the finals every two years would “weak” the value of the world championship.
The Confederation also criticized, above all, the method of “FIFA”, which has promoted its project in the media since last March through the French development director Arsene Wenger, without consulting officially with the federations, associations and representatives of fan associations and clubs.
In an interview published Thursday on the BBC’s Sports Desk podcast, Wenger reiterated his commitment to reforming the international calendar, saying that the goal is to “improve football. I’m ready to take that bet.”
For the former Arsenal coach, the current calendar “is not clear, is not simplified, and there is no modern organization for the season,” warning, “If we continue like this, we will go directly to hitting the wall.”