de-bruyne:-biennial-world-cup-‘not-a-bad-idea’

De Bruyne: Biennial World Cup ‘not a bad idea’

Manchester City and Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne says FIFA’s proposal for a biennial World Cup is “not a bad idea”.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now the chief of global football development at FIFA, is leading a consultation on a new international men’s calendar from 2024.

Wenger is proposing a major international tournament every June, longer but fewer in-season international breaks and mandatory player rest periods.

“At the start of the season, I had a meeting with FIFA and Arsene Wenger to explain to us what they wanted to do,” De Bruyne told news agency Belga.

“To do something like that, federations of all countries, UEFA and FIFA have to coordinate. Everyone has to work together.

“I insisted on a second point: I told them that they had to keep a real period of rest for us, the players, at the end of the season.

“The idea isn’t bad in itself, as long as everyone works together.”

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Arsene Wenger says he understands why some are concerned about his proposals to hold a World Cup every two years, but insists it is in the best interests of football.

UEFA has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the proposals, while Premier League clubs came out against the plan on Thursday and there is also opposition from European Leagues and the European Club Association.

YouGov research commissioned by FIFA and conducted in July found 55 per cent fans support the idea of more frequent World Cups.

The idea for a biennial World Cup was first proposed by the Saudi Arabian football association, and a feasibility study was given the go-ahead after a vote at FIFA Congress in May.

An online summit is due to take place on December 20 and the world governing body’s president, Gianni Infantino, says he hopes a consensus position can be presented to the associations at that meeting.