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Aleksander Ceferin has warned that the new World Cup plans could lead to a European boycott of the competition

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10 Sep 2021
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Aleksander Ceferin

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been pushing for major reform in his role as FIFA’s chief of football development.

Arsene Wenger has proposed that the World Cup should be held every two years

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has warned that the new World Cup plans could lead to a European boycott of the competition. Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been pushing for major reform in his role as FIFA’s chief of football development. The Frenchman has proposed that the World Cup should be held every two years. He believes that a structural change is necessary to reduce travelling time and the number of matches played at the top level of international football. Ceferin confirmed last week that UEFA has “grave concerns” about the plans in a written letter to the executive director of Football Supporters Europe, Ronan Evain. The Slovenian has now doubled down on his comments while insisting that Europe’s main governing body have widespread support in their opposition to the radical overhaul, which he believes goes against the game’s core values.

According to Ceferin, Wenger’s plan is so much against the basic principles of football

“We can decide not to play in it,” Ceferin has told reporters. “As far as I know, the South Americans are on the same page. So good luck with a World Cup like that. I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football. To play every summer is a one-month tournament; for the players, it’s a killer. Every two years, it clashes with the women’s World Cup, with the Olympic football tournament. The value is precisely because it is every four years, you wait for it, it’s like the Olympic Games, it’s a huge event. I don’t see our federations supporting that.” FIFA is in the process of reviewing the international match calendar, and there will be a final vote taken on Wenger’s plans, which he insists have been well received in most corners of the game.

The 71-year-old, who coached Arsenal for 22 years before stepping down in 2018, remains stubborn in his resolve but is also open to further discussion with the relevant parties to make the best possible decision. “Overall, I think I have got a very positive response, but this decision is democratic and will be made certainly by the 211 countries who are affiliated to FIFA. I think that we continue to consult people,” Wenger said on Thursday. “I’m not hesitant at all. I’m 100 per cent convinced that what I propose is the right solution for the modern way to organise football. If people have better ideas, I’m open to it, and I welcome every idea that is better than mine. I will not vote. I just make a proposal that I think will improve things and make life better for everybody, but especially make football better.”

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