“I want to see a biennial World Cup (…) the current four-yearly tournament is obsolete. It dates back to the 1930s, when the national teams were still traveling by ship from one continent to another.”
These are the words of Sepp Blatter from 1999 and show well that it is not a new idea to condense the World Cups. Blatter has not gotten to the point – in the absence of support – to put his plan into practice, but change can already take place in the 2020s. At its Congress at the end of May, the International Football Association (FIFA) decided – by 166 votes to 22 – to conduct a feasibility study on a more frequent organization of world championships. The idea was officially submitted to the Congress by the Saudi Arabian Football Association and would apply to both the Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
EVENT IN THE CALENDAR
Such a change could be included in the international competition calendar as a result of a lengthy conciliation process. The calendar was carved in stone until 2024, but after that, every major force within football will try to shape it to its advantage. The current calendar has “fixed” the period from 2018 to 2024, clarifying free team game days, dates for continental and global tournaments, and dates on which clubs must release players invited to national teams.
The year 2024 is a turning point in other respects as well, when the current commercial contracts of the Champions League, among others, expire, which is why the European Football Association (UEFA) is launching the reformed BL from the 2024-2025 season. Expanded to 36 teams, the “Swiss-based” multi-day BL – which we’ve covered in more detail here – in itself shows why it will be difficult to find compromises on the tournament calendar.