Biennial World Cup: Fifa plans would ‘generate extra £3.3bn’

The risk is to make football better - Arsene Wenger on biennial World Cup plans
The risk is to make football better – Arsene Wenger on biennial World Cup plans

A biennial World Cup would generate in excess of £3.3bn in additional revenue over a four-year cycle, delegates at Fifa’s global summit have been told.

Fifa has proposed the change as part of a revamped calendar.

All 211 member associations were invited to the summit as the debate over Arsene Wenger’s plan to double the frequency of the World Cup intensifies.

Uefa, Europe’s major leagues and South American football’s governing body Conmebol have opposed the plans.

Caf, the African governing body, has given its backing.

Delegates were told the overall financial impact on gate receipts, media rights and sponsorship revenues from a World Cup every two years would result in a predicted increase from £5.3bn for the 48-team tournament due to be held across three countries in 2030 to £8.6bn across a four-year cycle with two World Cups.

The meeting was told that Fifa estimate, on average, national associations would each be allocated around £12.1m in additional funds, although the precise method of distribution was not clarified.

Wenger is determined to reduce the gap in funding between the richest and poorest countries and, in turn, increase the chances of players from the poorest nations being developed to the full extent of their talent.

A report commissioned by the World Leagues Forum in November said Fifa’s proposal could cost domestic leagues and Uefa about 8bn euros (£6.8bn) per season in lost TV rights and commercial agreements.

On Friday Uefa published a report carried out by consultancy firm Oliver & Ohlbau, which said changes to the international calendar would see revenues drop between 2.5 and 3bn euros (£2.1-2.6bn) for European national federations across a four-year cycle.

‘Majority of countries would vote for biennial World Cups’

Fifa president Gianni Infantino says he remains confident a consensus can be reached over plans for a revised football calendar despite fierce opposition in Europe and South America.

“If I was going to a [Fifa Congress] vote tomorrow probably the majority would vote in favour of World Cups every two years,” he said.

“But we are looking at the entire calendar. We are looking at how we can make football better and we’re looking at how many we can bring on board with a new way of organising football in the future.

“We continue the dialogue, we continue the analysis, we hope that we can make progress one way or the other, or some middle way.”