FIFA’s controversial proposal to hold the World Cup every two years has united Premier League clubs in opposition. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who now works as FIFA’s chief of global football development, proposed the biennial World Cup scheme earlier this year. The World Cup is currently held every four years, with the 2022 edition set to take place in Qatar. Wenger recently claimed that critics of his idea were reacting emotionally.
From 2024, FIFA intends to reduce and condense qualifying matches into one or two international breaks per season, rather than the current five.
At a meeting in London on Thursday, however, representatives from the 20 Premier League clubs unanimously rejected the proposals.
“The Premier League is committed to preventing any radical changes to the post-2024 FIFA international match calendar that would adversely affect player welfare and threaten the competitiveness, calendar, structures and traditions of domestic football,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.
“We are open to reforms and new ideas, but they must enhance the complementary balance between domestic and international football in order to improve the game at all levels.”
“This process should also involve meaningful agreements with the leagues that provide the foundations for the game.
“We will continue to work with supporter groups, players, domestic and international stakeholders to find solutions that are in the best interests of football’s long-term future.”
FIFA’s widely panned plans have been condemned by the Premier League, UEFA, and the European Club Association. The Premier League faces a more immediate calendar headache as a result of FIFA’s decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar in November and December.
The league has confirmed that the 2022-23 season will end after the 16th round of matches on November 12 and 13, and will resume on December 26 following the conclusion of the World Cup.