Berlin, May 21 (IANS) Football’s world governing body FIFA has been given the mandate to make a feasibility study of hosting the men’s and women’s World Cups every two years instead of its current four-year cycle.
Domestic federations voted 166-22 at a virtual congress of the ruling body on Friday in favour of an according motion from Saudi Arabia’s national federation on the impact of holding the events every two years, reports DPA.
FIFA has in several stages increased the numbers of teams at World Cup, with 48 teams instead of 32 at the men’s event from 2026 and the women with 32 teams from 2023, up from 24.
But the four-year cycle itself has never been touched as the international match calendar also includes continental tournaments, the Olympics, qualifiers, plus domestic and international club competitions.
However, FIFA boss Gianni Infantino said Friday that a full review of the calendar from 2024 is needed to help make football truly global, saying that talks must start from “a blank sheet of paper.”
Saudi Arabia federation president Yasser Al Misehal spoke of “a critical juncture” for football and “a time to review how the global game is structured” as he outlined the motion in a video message.
“It is important to review how the global game is structured, which should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimum basis for how football is managed both from a competition and a commercial perspective as well as overall football development.”
Al Misehal also said the review should also touch on qualifiers because “having fewer yet more meaningful competitive national team matches could potentially address concerns regarding player welfare” and enhance the value of the events.
There are also plans to look into a possible annual staging of junior World Cups to give more players a chance to feature there.