Football stars oppose FIFA’s proposal to change the World Cup to every two years, with a FIFPRO survey revealing that 75% of players want the flagship tournament to remain every four years
- FIFPRO survey shows players want to play World Cup every four years
- FIFA has offered to narrow the gap between its flagship tournament
- The survey of more than 1,000 players was the biggest opposition to date
75% of players want the World Cup to remain an event played every four years, according to a new poll.
FIFA is proposing to reduce the gap between its flagship tournaments to two years as part of wider reforms to the international match calendar.
However, a survey of over 1,000 male players spanning six continents and over 70 nationalities represents the most significant indication to date of footballers’ opposition to these proposals.
75% of football players want the World Cup to stay every four years, according to a poll. Paul Pogba (left) and N’Golo Kante celebrate with the trophy in 2018
The survey, conducted by global players’ union FIFPRO and national players’ unions around the world in October and November last year, found that 77% of players in Europe and Asia supported the status quo, falling to 63% in the Americas.
Forty-nine percent of African players favored quadrennial World Cups, with the rest split between attending the tournament every two or three years.
FIFPRO added, however, that “there is a demand, particularly in the small and medium-sized markets, to further develop and strengthen national team competitions”.
“This is in line with FIFPRO’s position to encourage investment in regional competitions, based on local market requirements,” said a statement from the union.
Eighty-one percent of players ranked their national championship or the World Cup, in its current four-year cycle, as their favorite competition.
It also found that only 21% of players feel their voice is respected and their well-being is properly taken into account in the context of international football governance.
Eighty-one percent of players ranked their national championship or the World Cup as their favorite competition
FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “The player survey shows that most footballers around the world have a clear preference to play the World Cup every four years.
“At the same time, the results demonstrate the importance of national competitions for players.
“These leagues are the foundation of our game and we need to do more to strengthen them both for the good of the players and for the overall stability of professional football.
FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann says survey shows domestic leagues are the bedrock of football
“This survey underscores the need for more collective bargaining frameworks in our industry, especially at the international level.”
FIFA’s plans for a revamped calendar to come into effect from 2024 have already met with considerable opposition from other European bodies, with UEFA, the European Club Association and European leagues having pronounced against them.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said European nations could boycott the biennial World Cups, while Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said last week that his organization did not believe the Biennial Men’s or Women’s World Cups were a good idea and he didn’t think the plans would materialize.