All 20 Premier League clubs have voted to oppose Arsene Wenger’s plans to play a World Cup every two years. Arsenal legend Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of global football development, wants the international football tournament to occur every two years instead of the usual four, but has faced strong backlash across the football world.
FIFA have proposed plans to revamp the football calendar post-2024, with the a World Cup every two years just one of many changes.
Extended international windows have also been suggested. National teams would be given just one window per year to play their fixtures.
However, the Premier League has today confirmed that all of their 20 clubs strongly oppose the changes.
The league has said that each club has raised concerns about player welfare, with an extra World Cup potentially placing more matches in their already packed schedules.
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive, said: “The Premier League is committed to preventing any radical changes to the post-2024 FIFA International Match Calendar that would adversely affect player welfare and threaten the competitiveness, calendar, structures and traditions of domestic football.
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“We are open to reforms and new ideas, but they must enhance the complementary balance between domestic and international football in order to improve the game at all levels.
“This process should also involve meaningful agreements with the leagues that provide the foundations for the game.
“We will continue to work with supporter groups, players, domestic and international stakeholders to find solutions that are in the best interests of football’s long-term future.”
Wenger this week argued that the opposition to a World Cup every two years is ’emotional’.
The Frenchman, who managed the Gunners for 22 years before leaving in 2018, pointed to the fact that the women’s World Cup uses the same format.
He told Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe With Five podcast: “What I’m quite surprised (by) in a society which is anti-discriminatory, if you ask someone in the street whether a women’s World Cup every two years is good, they say: ‘yes, fantastic, it will develop the women’s game’.
“Why is it bad for men then? That shows that the reluctance is basically emotional. We have all grown up in that cycle of (a World Cup) every four years and we want to keep it as it is.
“We see the split in our polls that the younger generations are in favour, the generation over 50 is against.
“We don’t have to be scared. The modern guy who watches football is knowledgeable, he’s demanding, he tests the quality of what he watches.
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“There is a demand for quality, people today are knowledgeable and informed. We have the responsibility to give them top quality.”
YouGov research conducted in July and commissioned by FIFA found the most popular choice in each age group surveyed was to retain World Cups every four years, but that it had the lowest level of support in the 18 to 24 group – 37 per cent compared to 58 per cent in the over-55s.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino added: “What I can assure you is that we will go ahead only if everyone is better off.
“I believe that we can come up with something that makes sense and something everyone can be happy (with).
“Trying to find the bridge between all these different positions, is our challenge, but it’s also our ambition.”
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