A key ally of FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the idea of biennial World Cups is “problematic” but insists the game’s governing body has a duty to add new, meaningful events to the international calendar.
FIFA has been consulting over the feasibility of switching to World Cups every two years instead of four since a proposal by the Saudi Arabian football federation was put to Congress last May.
FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani floated the idea of a global Nations League or a revamped Confederations Cup as a possible compromise in December, and insisted on Wednesday it will not be good enough to simply keep the status quo in the new international calendar starting from 2024.
Montagliani, the president of the CONCACAF confederation which governs football in North and Central America and the Caribbean, told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit: “This whole concept of trying to have more in between World Cups, I think I support the principle.
“I said maybe the answer is not a two-year World Cup because I think emotionally it’s difficult for people who have grown up in a system where a World Cup was every four years.
“The reality is, we used to have a Confederations Cup, which maybe for some confederations it wasn’t a big deal. But for others, it was a big deal.
“I think we need to look at having something in between World Cups, whether it’s a Nations League, whether it’s a Confederations Cup, something that adds to the system.
“I think having a World Cup every two years is problematic, just because it might cause some ancillary damage to the current ecosystem in terms of qualifiers and all that.
“To me, this discussion really is about more than just the World Cup every two years because we (CONCACAF) have some problems with it as well, but it’s more about what is our fiduciary duty to grow the game globally and I think that’s what FIFA is trying to address. And I think I support that initiative.
“There has to be some sort of solution, maybe building on what we have (rather) than being as disruptive as the concept of a two-year World Cup could be. But we have to have some movement. I can see it from (the point of view of) the developing countries – it’s needed.”