The national football federations of four South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, believe that hosting the World Cup every two years will help develop football in the region. The FIFA Congress last May voted in favor of examining the possibility of hosting a men’s and women’s soccer World Cup every two years.
However, UEFA, the governing body of European football, and the continent’s top clubs are opposed to a change in the traditional structure of the World Cup, the current structure of hosting tournaments every four years.
The football federations of Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka said in a joint statement that they were with the 16 national federations that voted to explore the possibility of hosting the World Cup every two years.
In a joint statement, the federations said that hosting a World Cup in four years is depriving a talented generation because they are not getting enough opportunities. The statement made it clear that the federations were focusing on the fact that Asian football teams could not play in the World Cup.
“FIFA is going to be 100 years in the history of the World Cup, but not even one-fourth of the current members of the Asian Football Confederation have played in the World Cup,” the statement said.
Imrul Hasan, vice-president of the Bangladesh Football Federation, confirmed that the federations of the four countries had expressed support for the proposal to the FIFA Congress.
However, he thinks that if more teams from Asia can play in the World Cup, it could be good for Bangladesh in the end.
Four countries from Asia will be able to play live in next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. And another country can get a chance to play in the continental play-off. Satyajit Das Rupu, a member of the Bangladesh Football Federation, said that holding the World Cup every two years would help Bangladesh football improve.
“If the World Cup is held every two years, Bangladesh will be able to play a lot more matches in the qualifiers. Bangladesh will be able to play the same number of matches in two years as it used to play in four years.”
The BFF member also spoke in favor of increasing the number of countries playing directly in the World Cup from the Asia region. He said that far fewer countries from Asia get a chance to play football at different levels under FIFA than in Asia.
FIFA, the governing body of football, is considering hosting the World Cup in two consecutive years and is urging various organizations to think about it. However, Reuters reports that UEFA and the top clubs in Europe will not agree to FIFA’s proposal.
Arsene Wenger and the Football World Cup
Arsene Wenger, the former manager of English club Arsenal, wants to take forward the idea of hosting the FIFA World Cup every two years. Vengar is now the head of FIFA’s Global Football Development Division.
However, UEFA President Alexander Seferin wrote in response to a letter from Football Supporters Europe: “This is a concern for the football world.”
How did the idea come about?
The first proposal to host the World Cup every two years came from the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. FIFA President Gianni Infantino described the proposal as “rhetorical and eloquent”. However, 18 national federations voted in favor and 22 against.
“We will discuss it, we will review it, but in all discussions we will prioritize the game, not its business,” Infantino said.
Any changes to the structure of the World Cup would require a vote by the football federations of the 211 countries in the FIFA Congress. Qatar is the host country of the 2022 World Cup – followed by the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.