Football’s world government body, FIFA on Tuesday revealed that Saudi Arabia’s football federation has formally asked them to look at staging biennial World Cups for men and women.
The proposal “requesting a feasibility study to be carried out on the impact” of playing both tournaments every two years will be put to the FIFA annual meeting of 211 member federations to be held as a remote meeting on Friday.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has consistently said a Women’s World Cup could be held every two years.
The next edition in 2023 will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
A separate proposal to Friday’s FIFA meeting from Jamaica calls for “a global women’s football competition concept to be prepared.”
A biennial men’s World Cup was floated by FIFA’s then president Sepp Blatter more than 20 years ago.
The idea now returns near the end of the busiest and most congested season in modern football.
In Europe, the same number of competitions and games for club and national teams were played despite several weeks being lost because the previous covid-19 pandemic delayed season pushed back the start to September.
Creating new and bigger competitions is a key theme of Infantino’s presidency, though the global players’ union FIFPRO warns of players facing burnout and injuries from bigger workloads.
The first year of Infantino’s presidency saw FIFA add 16 more teams and 16 more games to the World Cup for the 2026 edition. The 48-team, 80-game tournament will be hosted in the United States, Canada and Mexico and should set attendance and revenue records.
FIFA was to launch a 24-team Club World Cup tournament in China this year.
European football officials at first opposed the project, citing Infantino’s lack of transparency about the financial backers.
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By Ofhani Munyai