IOC supports concerns over FIFA’s plans for biennial World Cup

The international football federation, FIFA’s plans to hold its flagship Men’s World Cup every two years has raised heckles in the clubs’ circuit. The plan to switch the Men’s World Cup from a quadrennial schedule to a biennial is now causing concerns among other international federations too.

On Saturday, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took note of FIFA’s plans to change the football competition schedule and to hold the World Cup every two years and supported the calls for wider consultation. It has also shared its concerns over these plans.

“A number of International Federations (IFs) of other sports, national football federations, clubs, players, players associations and coaches have expressed strong reservations and concerns regarding the plans to generate more revenue for FIFA,” the IOC said in a release.

Their concerns are mainly due to this move’s impact on other sports as the increased frequency and timing for the World Cup would create a clash with other major international sports. This includes tennis, cycling, golf, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, Formula 1, and many others. “This would undermine the diversity and development of sports other than football,” the IOC said in a release after the EB meeting.

It will also have an impact on the principle of gender equality in FIFA as the increas’ in men’s events in the calendar would create challenges for the further promotion of women’s football.

The increased frequency of the World Cup will also impact players’ welfare as the plans, in particular, the doubling in the frequency of the World Cup would create a further massive strain on the physical and mental health of the players, the IOC release noted.

“The IOC shares these concerns and supports the calls of stakeholders of football, International Sports Federations, and major event organisers for a wider consultation, including w’th athletes’ representatives, which has obviously not taken place,” the release said.

FIFA president Gi’nni Infantino’s plans regarding the frequency of the Men’s World Cup have been opposed by the Continental federations for Europe (UEFA) and South and Central Americas. The Asian and African confederations have supported the move.