Uefa prepared to boycott biennial World Cup, warns president Aleksander Ceferin

Fifa looking into the possibility of staging the tournament every two years but have been met with resistance

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 4, 2019 UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin walks past a sign with the UEFA logo after attending a press conference following a meeting of the executive committee at the UEFA headquarters, in Nyon, Switzerland. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on June 23, 2021 said the footballing body could not give in to "populist" requests from politicians, as he defended the decision not to allow Munich's Allianz Arena to be lit up in rainbow colours. "UEFA cannot be used as a tool by politicians," Ceferin told Germany's Die Welt newspaper after Munich's mayor had made the rainbow request in protest at Hungary's anti-LGBTQ law. / AFP / Fabrice COFFRINI

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has warned of a potential European boycott of the World Cup if Fifa's plans to stage the tournament every two years go ahead.

World football's governing body is carrying out a review of the international match calendar, led by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who is proposing a major tournament every year.

Under the proposals, the World Cup would rotate with continental tournaments such as the European Championship and be played every second year instead of every fourth.

“We can decide not to play in it," Ceferin, head of European football's governing body, told The Times. "As far as I know, the South Americans are on the same page. So good luck with a World Cup like that.

"I think it will never happen as it is so much against the basic principles of football.

"To play every summer a one-month tournament, for the players it’s a killer. If it’s every two years it clashes with the women’s World Cup, with the Olympic football tournament..

“The value is precisely because it is every four years, you wait for it, it’s like the Olympic Games, it’s a huge event. I don’t see our federations supporting that."

Fifa's Congress voted by a large majority for a 'feasibility study' to be carried out on the idea of a biennial World Cup but Ceferin stressed that the idea should be rejected.

“I hope [Fifa] will come to their senses, because I don’t see the right approach to go everywhere except the confederations, not to speak to us," the Slovenian said. "They didn’t come, they didn’t call, I didn’t get a letter or anything. I just read in the media.”

Ceferin said he also had no interest in Uefa's European Championship being held every two years instead of every four years.

“It might be good for Uefa financially but the problem is we would be killing football like that," he said. "We are killing the players. I don’t see the clubs allowing the players to go and that would divide us completely."

'Firmly and unanimously opposed'

Ceferin's stance is supported by the European Leagues, whose board of directors include members from La Liga, the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A.

"On this occasion, the Leagues have firmly and unanimously opposed any proposals to organise the Fifa World Cup every two years," the group said in a statement following a meeting on Tuesday.

"The Leagues will work together with the other stakeholders to prevent football governing bodies to take unilateral decisions that will harm domestic football which is the foundation of our industry and of utmost importance for clubs, players and fans across Europe and the world."

Updated: September 9th 2021, 3:05 PM
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