UEFA reveals ‘alarming’ warning about biennial World Cup ahead of FIFA summit


UEFA has warned of a “deeply negative outlook” for international football in Europe if FIFA gets the green light to host the World Cup every two years.

The message from Europe’s governing body precedes FIFA’s world summit with national associations on Monday.

FIFA will present their plans to host World Cups, both men and women, every two years in the future, which could lead to the biggest upheaval in football in many years.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently suggested that the footballing elite who oppose a game overhaul are “afraid” of what the change would mean for them, given their positions of power.

A study commissioned by UEFA indicates a sharp drop in income from its own international competitions. He predicts that European national associations could see a drop of between € 2.5 billion and € 3 billion over a four-year cycle, also warning of a significant drop in UEFA’s revenue for women’s football if more men’s tournaments must be organized.

UEFA, which was already firmly opposed to the FIFA plan, said the findings of the study by consultancy firm Oliver and Ohlbaum were “alarming” and raised “serious concerns”.

The study claimed that broadcast revenues would fall for each event, with advertising rates “likely to hold up” but audiences “likely to decline.”

Research has shown that around 30% of fans would watch the European Championship and domestic football less, while 60% believe the prestige of the World Cup will drop and 65% believe that a change would lead to a schedule. international football inflated.

The study warned of “a lesser willingness of broadcasters and sponsors to pay for other tournaments, even if they offer eyeballs,” and said that for the four years from 2026 to 2030, with with the World Cups taking place every two years, the impact “would be strongly negative”. , although the UEFA European Championship has also evolved into a biennial.

He predicted that UEFA’s revenue would rise from € 4.6 billion to € 4.2 billion if qualifying took place in two blocks of matches, and to € 4.0 billion if all qualifiers. took place in a single block, with a ripple effect on distributions to national teams. associations.

Women’s football has seen an upward growth curve in recent years, aided by the exposure of its tournaments to times when there was no corresponding men’s event.

But the study predicted that viewership would “drop dramatically” if the men’s events were held in the same year as the female stars, reducing their chances of being in the media and public spotlight. He said the earnings of the European Women’s Championship would increase from € 102m to € 44m if this tournament continued to take place once every four years, or to € 78m if it became also a biennial competition.

FIFA found some support for his proposals, which were pushed by ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now responsible for world football on the governing body. Africa provided support, while there was also positive interest from Asia and those in the CONCACAF region. Like UEFA, however, the powerful South American confederation CONMEBOL has spoken out strongly against the idea of ​​FIFA.

UEFA again warned on Friday of the prospect of “increasing player mental and physical exhaustion” and encroaching on calendar spaces currently occupied by other sports.

“Against this bleak sporting backdrop, research by Oliver and Ohlbaum projects a deeply negative outlook for European national team football if FIFA’s plan were to be implemented,” UEFA said in a statement.


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