The Pros and Cons of a Biennial World Cup
By Bradley Morris
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest competition in all of football, and in its current format you could argue that even if there were issues, they would be small and easy to look into. However, the idea of having the World Cup take place every two years is one that requires thorough discussions regarding the impact a decision like this would have. When former Arsenal manager and FIFA’s Head of Global Development Arsene Wenger announced the incentive, it didn’t receive a positive reaction from the majority of football fans and those in higher football roles have criticised the idea as well such as UEFA president Alexander Ceferin.
The question I want to ask is what the pros and cons are to having a biennial World Cup. Is it as bad an idea as it has been made out to be? And do the negatives outweigh the positives that could come from a tournament every two years? Let’s look into this.
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The World Cup’s prestige would be diminished
The World Cup is seen as a special tournament and having it every four years actually does sort of make it more memorable. Moving it to every two years would harm its prestige a little bit because it has always felt like a tournament that you should only be seeing a few of in your lifetime.
International Football isn’t the same anymore
The quality of international football overall nowadays isn’t always as good as club football. The last World Cup in Russia in 2018 was a great watch as was Euro 2020, but the quality of football is lower. International football’s biggest problem is that it cannot compete with what we see in club football, as a supporter you’re not always having the same feelings for your country as you would for your team and staging more international tournaments may not be likely to change that.
Player Welfare – Too many matches
One of the main issues with having the World Cup every two years is the increase in matches that this will lead to. Players need that break to recover, they need time away and space to relax and avoid burnout. It’s not just how much it can take its toll physically, but also emotionally as well. Players do deserve the time off if it they’ve earned it, even as fans sometimes we can sometimes feel like there is too much football happening, making sure that it’s not overdone can mean that you will appreciate even more.
Is more World Cup’s a bad thing?
While there is the argument of it ruining the prestige of the tournament, there will be those who don’t like the idea of it being every four years. Another argument that can be made is that you see the Champions League take place every season and that doesn’t feel less prestigious. Perhaps the spectacle of the World Cup wouldn’t be damaged too much if it were to happen more often.
Making International games mean more
International fixtures a lot of the time don’t carry as many stakes with them, so there is a claim to make that international games should mean more in the grand scheme. For some players, playing in a World Cup can be the pinnacle of there career, so having more important fixtures in international football instead of friendlies with nothing behind them could help its reputation and make it more watchable to fans, which is something that FIFA have spoken about by saying they would intend to reduce the number of qualifying and friendly matches as a way of keeping players from being overworked.
Hosting the competition
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken about the chance that more nations will have to host the World Cup if the idea was to go through. It could be an interesting prospect having a World Cup somewhere which would leave an impact afterwards and also places that can realistically afford it.
As someone who really likes watching the World Cup, the idea of having it take place every two years to me isn’t all that bad. However, I also personally respect the spectacle and prestige factor that comes with it more than that. Does it simply come down to money as the reason for this idea to have even come to fruition? For me the World Cup is currently best left as a tournament that takes place every four years, it doesn’t feel like a model that is broken. If the plan was agreed on it would need to be convincing enough to make those currently against it feel confident that it won’t be damaging to football overall, which is something that will be looked at and whatever decision is made, it’s sure to leave an impact on the sport.