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Wenger calls for World Cup every two years, radical calendar changes

FOOTBALL By Reuters | March 16th 2021 | 3 min read
December 19, 2017 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Action Images [ Reuters]

Arsene Wenger, FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development, says the governing body should consider holding the World Cup and Euros every two years and that a review of the world calendar will consider compressed qualifiers and enforced breaks for players.

The former Arsenal manager is a close advisor to FIFA president Gianni Infantino and says the current four year wait for a World Cup is unfair to players and the focus should be on "competitions of meaning".

"If you look at the teams in the World Cups usually the average age is 27/28. That’s why, because the World Cup, is every four years there are very few chances to win it again because when they go back to the next World Cup they are 32/33.

"That’s why maybe we should organise the World Cup every two years," he told broadcasters BeIn Sport in an interview.

Wenger, who has been critical of UEFA's Nations League in the past, said as well as the World Cup, the European Championships should also be held on a biennial basis.

"Kick all the rest out. Organise only competitions of meaning and kick all the parallel competitions out of the game. People must understand what is at stake and only have games with meaning," he said.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (R) looks on next to Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish headcoach Unai Emery (L) during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Paris-Saint-Germain vs Arsenal FC, on September 13, 2016 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. [AFP PHOTO]

The Frenchman said one idea on the agenda, for the review which is due to start this month, is to reduce the amount of international breaks taken from domestic football for qualifiers for the major tournaments.

"I would say that's one of the solutions we will discuss is to compact the qualifiers but instead of going away in October, November, September, March, June, we regroup the qualifiers all in one month or two quadruples in October and in February but at least the players can dedicate that time to the club from March until June, and we would gain four dates," he said.

"The ideal solution would be to regroup the qualifiers in one month, let's say in October, you qualify and the rest of the season you play for your club and then at the end of the season you play the national team Championships but that will be a complete evolution, not revolution."

Wenger conceded that his idea to have a worldwide season run from March to November, to adjust for the November 2022 World Cup in Qatar, had found little support, however.

"It's my dream... I just think I have the advantage of having worked in Japan. We played from March until November and it was perfect," he said.

"It would make things more simple. And let's not forget that this summer break comes from the way where people were not professional, it’s over 100 years ago," he added.

"It was a good opportunity with the World Cup in November but it's not the case, so that will not happen. But you need four weeks holiday and after that maybe you need to go down to 18 clubs (in domestic leagues), everywhere."

Wenger said whatever calendar was agreed had to include a clear break for players.

"I believe it's needed, with the physical resources that the players need today, it's important that you have four weeks holiday," he said.


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