Agencies/ London, England
FIFA’s plan to double the number of World Cups by holding the tournament every two years has received a “very positive response”, Arsene Wenger, the man fronting the proposals, said yesterday, even as UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has warned of a potential European boycott of the World Cup if the plans come to fruition.
“We can decide not to play in it,” Ceferin, head of European soccer’s governing body, told The Times newspaper.
“As far as I know, the South Americans are on the same page. So good luck with a World Cup like that. I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football.
“If it’s every two years it clashes with the women’s World Cup, with the Olympic football tournament,” added Slovenian Ceferin.
Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, is FIFA’s head of Global Football Development and has been pushing the idea for several weeks before holding a consultation with a group of around 80 former players and coaches in Doha, Qatar, this week.
Former Brazil World Cup winner Ronaldo appeared on a virtual press conference with Wenger and expressed his support for the idea with ex-Australia international Tim Cahill and former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel also backing the process.
“Overall, I think I have got a very positive response, but this decision is a democratic decision and will be made certainly by the 211 countries who are affiliated to FIFA. I think that we continue to consult people,” said Wenger.
The Frenchman’s plans have however been opposed by European confederation UEFA and by the World Leagues Forum which represents the main domestic club competitions.
“I’m not hesitant at all. I’m 100% convinced that what I propose is the right solution for the modern way to organise football. If people have better ideas, I’m open to it and I welcome every idea that is better than mine,” Wenger said, when asked about that opposition and the risk of major conflict within the game.
“I will not vote. I just make a proposal that I think will improve things and make life better for everybody, but especially make football better,” he said.
Wenger said a decision on the next steps for the proposal could be taken by FIFA as early as December.
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