FIFA has published results from a study that claims “the majority” of football fans would like to see more frequent World Cups just hours after UEFA said an independent survey called proposals “alarming”.
Earlier on Friday, UEFA warned of “a deeply negative outlook” for international football in Europe if FIFA gets the green light to stage the World Cup every two years.
The messages from the two governing bodies came ahead of FIFA holding its global summit with national associations on Monday.
FIFA will lay out its plans to stage World Cups, both men’s and women’s, every two years in the future, in what could lead to the biggest shake-up in the game for many years.
The “independent” study that was commissioned by UEFA, which has been vehemently against the idea of biennial World Cups ever since proposals gained mainstream traction, said European national associations could see a drop in revenues of up to €3billion over four years and that 30 per cent of fans would watch less domestic and European Championship football.
Additionally, it suggested 60 per cent of fans believe the World Cup’s prestige would fall and 65 per cent think it would lead to a bloated international football calendar.
But FIFA’s own study says fans are in favour of watching “the FIFA World Cup more frequently, for example every two years, provided that player workload does not increase”.
According to FIFA, of the 30,390 people involved in the study who said football was their favourite sport, 63.7 per cent were in favour of more men’s World Cups, with the 25-34 age category apparently the “most supportive”, and 52.4 per cent want to see the women’s tournament more often.
The results were split between continents and suggest there is more backing among the lesser-established international teams.
It is claimed Africa (76 per cent), Asia (66), North, Central America and the Caribbean (53), South America (54) and Oceania (55) all have majorities in favour of more men’s World Cups, however less than half (48 per cent) of Europeans are.
Opposition is said to be especially strong in some of the leading European nations, with England’s disapproval percentage at 53, Germany’s at 50 and France’s at 42. Those three were also considered the most disapproving of more women’s World Cups.