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IOC concerned by FIFA push for biennial World Cup

By Tom Webber

Laussane, October 17: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) wants discussions to be held over FIFA's plan to stage the men's World Cup every two years instead of four.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has been travelling across the globe in a bid to drum up support for making the World Cup a biennial competition.

The proposal, which is set to be voted on in December, has been met with criticism from federations at a continental and national level, as well as players' and supporters' unions.

The IOC suggested it is simply a money-spinning exercise for FIFA and said it shared concerns raised about the impact on other sports, gender equality and player welfare.

An IOC statement read: "A number of international federations (IFs) of other sports, national football federations, clubs, players, players associations and coaches have expressed strong reservations and concerns regarding the plans to generate more revenue for FIFA, mainly for the following reasons:

"The increased frequency and timing for the World Cup would create a clash with other major international sports. This includes tennis, cycling, golf, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, Formula 1 and many others. This would undermine the diversity and development of sports other than football.

"The increase in men's events in the calendar would create challenges for the further promotion of women's football.

"The plans ... would create a further massive strain on the physical and mental health of the players."

The release continued: "The IOC shares these concerns and supports the calls of stakeholders of football, international sports federations and major event organisers for a wider consultation, including with athletes' representatives, which has obviously not taken place."

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Story first published: Sunday, October 17, 2021, 3:20 [IST]
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