FIFA commissioned a global survey to assess fans’ acceptance of changing the pace of the World Cup to every two years, instead of four as it currently is. An initial consultation has been conducted, with 23,000 people from 23 countries, and a broader consultation, such as 100,000 interviews in more than 100 countries, is being prepared.
The International Federation has not announced the initial numbers, but the details provided show that with the football elite against the idea, the entity intends to create a scenario of conflict of interests between the “powerful and the young” when dealing with the issue.
At the moment, according to FIFA, the data shows fans’ approval of the change:
– Most want a more frequent cup;
– every two years is better;
– There are differences between what fans from countries with football traditions think and fans from developing countries, with the former reluctant to change anything but the latter;
Young people are more open to change than older people.
The third element released shows how FIFA should work with the data from this survey and from the broader data being implemented. Today, the organization has strong associations from Europe and South America, associations of clubs and players against its own idea of the Biennale Cup. So the elite.
In favor of the football periphery, the confederations of the continents are called dwarfs as football develops within FIFA itself. The African Union indicated that it would be able to vote as a bloc, which would already be 56 out of a possible 211 votes if the plan was presented in the next Congress. Smaller associations in Asia, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, were also in favor, as well as the Confederation of Caribbean Confederations, which is part of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean), which could get another 31 votes for Congress..
The scenario, then, is clear: countries with unified football that have already won the World Cup do not want to change, and dwarves do. To these, FIFA says that it will increase the opportunity to participate in the World Cup and host the competition, which, in the eyes of the International Federation, will help the development of sports in these regions. There is also the issue of transferring funds to projects, which should increase if FIFA’s revenue increases with the Biennial Cup.
The result of these surveys commissioned by specialist companies, such as YouGov, based in the United Kingdom, will be added to this fight. Since there is a difference between what fans from countries with unified football think and those from countries with developing sports, FIFA can offer sponsors, who will pay more for a biennial cup, the idea that even without elite support, these brands can reach Consumers who want a change in sports.
The group set up by FIFA to make detailed changes to the football calendar, led by former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, has finalized a plan to present it to its affiliates. The idea is that the World Cup is held every two years, not four years as it is now, which will affect the period in which clubs release players to teams, the so-called FIFA dates.
The idea is for the trophy to become a biennial after the 2026 Cup, already scheduled in the USA, Canada and Mexico, the first time it has been held in three venues. Therefore, in 2028, a new edition will already be released.
UEFA and CONMEBOL (CONMEBOL) oppose it because the biennial cup will often compete with club competitions, such as the Champions League and Libertadores, but also because a change in the calendar will affect the continents, the euro and the championship. America’s Cup, which will also be biennial, in odd years between the Cups. Entities are wondering if there will be special funds to support many of the competitions.
For clubs and players, there is concern about an increase in trophies at the end of the European season – the continental cups and tournaments take place between June and July, as is already the case today. FIFA argues that the changes will reduce the wear and tear of the athletes, who travel frequently between continents to play for national teams. There will not be five months of FIFA dates, but rather a month or two.
In order to be approved, the calendar change must pass through the Entity Congress, which is held annually between May and June. A majority of the 211 affiliate votes is necessary – today FIFA calculates that there are between 90 and 95 votes in favour.
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