FIFA Announces New World Cup Consultation

William Manwaring - 25 Sep 2021

After a lot of to-and-fro and much opposition faced over a lack of consultation with all relevant parties, world soccer governing body FIFA will eventually later this month start a long-overdue dialogue with clubs, players, and leagues about its suggestion for hosting a men’s World Cup every two years.

The upcoming consultation process is the latest, and some would say after-the-fact, step in FIFA’s push for the big change. FIFA this week issued a formal invitation to all 211 of its member federations to join online talks on September 30 as part of the input and dialogue process. Up for discussion will be the future of national team soccer – and with a particular focus on the hosting of a biennial men’s World Cup event.

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Consultation Process Is Flawed

FIFA first started its discussions regarding the proposed changes with retired players earlier in September. These included former World Cup winners who travelled to Qatar for a conference that spanned two days. FIFA during this time also sought approvals for the commissioning of surveys among fans across several world countries.

The process involving feedback from former WC winners was shortly after signposted as essentially flawed by global active players union FIFPRO. A meeting for discussing the players’ organisation’s qualms has now been scheduled by the soccer governing body.

FIFA on Monday issued a statement detailing the way forward, saying a “new” consultation process was now in the offing – which will include all six continental governing bodies.

Opposition From Many Sides

FIFA’s argument in favour of a biennial World Cup appears based on the assumption (or hope) that such a schedule would award more opportunities to more teams and players for competing in significant games on the international stage. The hope is furthermore that the change will raise more money for player development programmes within the context of world soccer.

Opposed to the change are European soccer governing body UEFA, as well as South America’s COMMEBOL. Their main gripe with the new schedule is that they run the risk of having their European Championship and Copa America events diluted by more World Cups.

Even so, the general agreement seems to be that the men’s calendar has indeed become somewhat outdated.

As for women’s soccer, the German soccer federation last week expressed a concern over the women’s game being overshadowed by more men’s World Cup events. This essentially threatens to further widen the gender inequality gap for the sport on a global stage.

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