Arsene Wenger backs plans for FIFA World Cup to be held every two years


Since its inception in 1930, the competition is held every four years and the next edition is due to be hosted by Qatar in 2022.

However, game’s global governing body is carrying out a feasibility study into making the World Cup a biennial event.

That would appease broadcasters but has been opposed by leagues and clubs due to fears over player burnout.

But Wenger, who is now head of global football development at FIFA, has argued a revamp of the international football calendar will help players’ wellbeing.

“I always had the feeling that the many shorter breaks were rather unfavourable for the players,” he was quoted as saying by Kicker.

“Those were always moments of uncertainty. How’re the players feeling mentally afterwards? Do you come back hurt?”

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Wenger cited the example of Robert Lewandowski, who sustained a knee injury while on Poland duty in March and missed six games for Bayern Munich, including both legs of their Champions League quarterfinal with Paris Saint-Germain.

“That ruined Bayern’s entire Champions League season,” Wenger said.

“The national teams can meet in October, play seven qualifying games for a month and then play the finals of a tournament in June.

“We want to reduce the number of games – that’s very important because we can see the condition of the players.”

Speaking 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.

Infantino open to shifting international calendar after Wenger proposal

Wenger added: “More knockout matches, fewer qualifying games. That’s what the fans want.

“Think of it this way: 2026 the World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada; 2027 a European Championship and the other continental tournaments; 2028 another World Cup; and so on.

“We guarantee a period of rest after every tournament.”

In a break from tradition the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been shifted from the tradtional June window to November due to the scorching summer temperature in the Middle East.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup, the first-of-its kind to be held in Middle East and the entire Arab world — will be a 28-day affair (the shortest in FIFA history) and will be held from November 21 to December 18.

(With OPTA inputs)

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