Despite the wave of hostile reactions to his project to celebrate the world Cup every two years, the FIFA he consults his 211 federations on Thursday in the hope of counting on their support against European football.
Officially, this is a first exchange “around the international female and male calendars” beyond 2024, for which the world body ensures that all scenarios are open.
But in recent weeks, FIFA has been actively pushing the idea of a biennial World Cup, rather than every four years, dreamed up in 1999 by its former boss, Sepp Blatter, and relaunched in March by its development director, the French. Arsène Wenger. The subject, so flammable that it upsets all sporting and economic balances – between clubs and national teams, international championships and competitions – has provoked a cascade of criticism in European football but also among representatives of leagues around the world, players and fans.
In a system in which each federation has a voice in the FIFA Congress, regardless of its size, the prospect of increased revenue is sensed enough to seduce a slew of African, Asian or Oceanic voters who draw from the manna of the FIFA World Cup. World much of its resources.
In addition, FIFA has also been able to play at other tables: first by gathering in Doha a group of former players and coaches – ‘legends’ who charge as ambassadors – to praise this reform project with one voice.
The body also released in mid-September an online study of 15,000 people “interested in football”, which shows a slight majority (55%) in favor of a more frequent World Cup than its current quadrennial rate.
Faced with this constellation favorable to FIFA, in a few weeks a front of rejection was formed, led by the European and South American confederations, UEFA and Conmebol, as well as by representatives of the world leagues and European clubs.
Infantino wants to make a decision this year
Nobody knows how FIFA will handle these oppositions: its president Gianni Infantino wants a decision before the end of the year and could be satisfied with the vote of the federations.
Still, the powerful European Club Association (ECA) last week demanded “detailed negotiations” with FIFA “and joint approval of the international calendar”, thus claiming a right of veto.