FIFA’s proposal to make the World Cup a biennial event
faced rejection as around 75 % of footballers voiced their opinion in favour of
four year World Cup, a new survey revealed. FIFA has long been planning to cut
the gap between showpiece tournaments to two years as part of wider reforms of
the international match calendar.
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However, the survey conducted by the world players’
union FIFPRO received opinions from more than 1,000 male footballers from across six
continents and more than 70 nationalities representing the most significant
indication yet of footballers’ opposition to those proposals.
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FIFPRO found that in October and November last year 77
% of players in both Europe and Asia supported the status quo, dropping
to 63 % in the Americas. In Africa, 49 % of African players favoured
four-yearly World Cups, with the remainder split between playing the tournament
every two or three years.
FIFPRO did add though that ‘a demand exists,
particularly in smaller and medium-sized markets, to further develop and
strengthen national team competitions’.
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‘This is in line with FIFPRO’s position on encouraging
investment into regional competitions, based on the requirements of the local
market,’ a statement from the union read.
World Cup in the current cycle is favourite among 81 %
81 % of players ranked either their domestic league or the
World Cup, in its current four-year cycle, as their favourite competition.
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It also found that only 21 per cent of players believe
their voice is respected and that their well-being is adequately considered in
the context of international football governance.
“The player survey shows most footballers around the
world have a clear preference to play the World Cup every four years, said
Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO general secretary.
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“At the same time, the results demonstrate the
importance of domestic league competitions to players. These leagues are the
bedrock of our game and we have to do more to strengthen them both for the sake
of players and the overall stability of professional football.