UEFA has doubled down on its opposition to FIFA’s plans for biennial World Cups, saying it will stand against them until “common sense prevails and they are dropped”.
IFA wants to shorten the gap between its flagship men’s and women’s tournaments to two years as part of an overhaul of the international calendar from 2024, and is currently consulting with national associations, confederations, fans, clubs, players and leagues.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has previously said European countries could boycott the World Cup if the changes were introduced, and on Friday the confederation gave no indication of a softening of its stance.
“A biennial Word Cup would damage all forms of football, devalue the competition itself, disadvantage fans financially and stunt the development of women’s and youth football around the world,” a UEFA statement said.
“There are so many reasons that clubs, leagues and fans are united in their opposition to it.
“UEFA has a responsibility to the game in Europe to make sure that this unnecessary additional burden on a few elite players does not go ahead to the detriment not only of their physical and mental health but also to the broader game.
“From the idea of a single international window to the complete ignorance of the inevitable effects on women’s and youth competitions, this concept has all the hallmarks of a decision that FIFA wants to take in haste and leave the rest of the game to bitterly repent at leisure. Any perceived attraction is shallow, while the pitfalls are cavernous.
“UEFA will continue to oppose it until common sense prevails and the plans are dropped.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said he would like his organisation’s member associations to vote on the plans before the end of the year.