FIFA are to explore the possibility of holding the men’s and women’s World Cup every two years.
The current format of the competition sees the showpiece international football events take place every four years – a system that’s been in place since both the men’s and women’s inaugural competitions launched in 1930 and 1991 respectively.
However, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has proposed doubling the amount of World Cups to mean they would be held every two years, a suggestion which has been backed at FIFA’s annual congress.
A study will now be launched to assess the feasibility of the proposal, with SAFF president Yasser Al-Misehal claiming changes to the competitions’ current formats may be necessary.
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“We believe the future of football is at a critical juncture,” he said as reported by BBC Sport.
“The many issues that football has faced have now been further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
“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.
“Having fewer yet more meaningful competitive national team matches could potentially address concerns regarding player welfare whilst at the same time enhancing the value and merit of such competitions.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino described the proposal as “eloquent and detailed”, with national federations voting in favour of the idea by 166 votes to 22.
The qualifying competitions for the respective tournaments will also be reviewed, though one small detail which will undoubtedly need to be considered is how this will impact the European Championship.
The Euros currently take place once every four years and it may be that the additional World Cup competitions are held in the winter if the proposal comes to fruition so to prevent the two tournaments clashing.