Left to Arséne Wenger the FIFA men’s World Cup competition should be staged every two years and asserts that “it is what the fans want”.
At present, the world football governing body FIFA is carrying out a feasibility study into making the World Cup a biennial event.
The World Cup, for now, is held every four years and will be hosted by Qatar at the end of 2022.
The plan seems to meet the approval of many broadcasters but many football club managers oppose the plan citing player burnout.
Wenger, head of global football development at FIFA, has argued that a rejigging of the international football calendar will be in the interest of the players.
When he spoke about it in March, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was open to any new ideas for the post-2024 football calendar, including the possibility of reducing the number of international breaks.
Speaking to German outlet Kicker in July, Wenger said, “More knockout matches, fewer qualifying games. That’s what the fans want.”
England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, is ambivalent. London’s Daily Express quotes him as saying:
“I actually met with Arsene a couple of weeks ago,” Southgate said. “He was a meeting a few different coaches so I have a pretty good idea of the proposals. The whole calendar needs to be tidied up and The Hundred in cricket has been an incredible success so I’m open-minded,” he said.
Southgate continues, “But I’m intrigued to see what comes out because we can’t keep adding onto the workload of the players – although none of us in the game are holding our hands out for less money, so we also have to accept that comes with a consequence. It’s too complex to say it was all positive or I didn’t agree with it all. There’s too many different strands. As a traditionalist, it feels you could lose some of the allure of the World Cup because the scarcity of it makes it more important.”
Wenger’s compatriot, Raymond Domenech, former France’s coach is more vociferous:
“The idea doesn’t make sense, it’s stupid. The fact it’s brought forward by Mr Wenger makes no sense. When he was manager he always went against the national teams. I had a number of disputes with him on players he didn’t want me to call up. So in October and in March we’re going to stop playing club football? FIFA is advocating for a football for everyone, which remains a football for the elite. Players who are always called up will never actually get any holidays. It’s a political aberration. As always, it’s FIFA that decides. What’s more, Wenger is only citing former players. For those who aren’t playing, it’s great, for those who are, it’s an aberration.”