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FIFA set to reveal more on two-year World Cup plans

FIFA will reveal more details on Thursday about its plans to hold a World Cup finals every two years.

Some of the most famous former players and coaches in the game are meeting FIFA global head of football development Arsene Wenger in Qatar over the next two days to listen to his plans for the future of football.

Wenger wants to change the international match calendar so that there are major tournaments every summer and fewer qualifying games during the year.

Former England players John Terry and Michael Owen are among those who have been invited to Doha to meet Wenger as part of FIFA’s consultation process.

Although the proposals are set to be opposed by UEFA and clubs and players in Western Europe, they could prove to be popular in the rest of the world.

166 of FIFA’s 211 member associations voted to carry out a feasibility study into the proposals first put forward in March by the Saudi Arabia Football Federation. All 211 FIFA members are likely to vote on the proposals before the end of the year and if they are endorsed, the World Cup finals could be held every two years from the summer of 2028.

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes the coronavirus pandemic has played a part in illustrating the need to revamp the football calendar to make the sport stronger

The World Cup is FIFA’s main source of income and, unlike UEFA, it does not have lucrative competitions such as the Champions League to provide it with a steady stream of revenues all year every year.

Speaking to French newspaper L’Equipe last week, Wenger said there would not be more games under his plans and players would be guaranteed at least 25 rest days every summer. Players would also spend more time at their clubs because there would only be a maximum block of two qualifying match periods every year.

Biennial World Cup ‘strange for some’, Southgate tells Wenger

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England manager Gareth Southgate says ‘some traditions are worth protecting’ with FIFA looking at the idea of holding the World Cup every two years

Staging the World Cup every two years will be a “strange concept” for a whole generation of football fans, Gareth Southgate has told Wenger.

England boss Southgate has met with Wenger to discuss plans for a biennial World Cup and is “open-minded” to the proposals.

“I actually met with Arsene a couple of weeks ago, he was meeting a few different coaches so I have a pretty good idea of the proposals,” Southgate said.

“I think the whole calendar needs reviewing. My feedback would be – I don’t know – that our generation is going to find a World Cup every two years a strange concept.

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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has criticised FIFA proposals to hold the World Cup every two years rather than four, saying doing that will dilute the tournament’s impact

“But I also know that things like The Hundred in cricket have been an incredible success, so I’m open-minded about some of those things. But the calendar generally needs to be tidied up. We can’t keep adding more things in.

“I agree generally with the concept of better quality matches. Fewer matches, better quality across the board, but there’s lots of other things that need consideration and we can’t just add more in at the moment.”

Southgate refused to offer his own opinion on whether he believes the plans would be a success and would like the players themselves to have a say on proposals.

“We keep adding more competitions in and I’m intrigued to see what comes out to allow that space to happen because we can’t keep adding onto the workload of the players,” he added.