Why a World Cup every two years would be problematic

With the news that Arsene Wenger is leading a consultation on holding men’s and women’s World Cups every two years, there are plenty of questions to ask. The former Arsenal manager is currently the chief of global football development for FIFA, and has launched studies into the feasibility of hosting both men and women’s World Cups every two years as opposed to four. 

While some consider this to be a good thing, as more football is being played at international level and at an elite standard, making other competitions like the Nations League redundant, it certainly isn’t the best idea. The proposal, which has been spearheaded by Saudi Arabia’s football federation (SAFF), received backing at FIFA’s annual meetings but has received stark criticism, and rightly so. With so many changes being made to the 2022 World Cup already, with the Qatar conditions restricting it to the winter months, many fear the game is in danger of losing its touch. Read on as we discuss why a World Cup every two years isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Player injuries

The fatigue that comes with the end of a long season has been part of the game for as long as we can remember. But as sports science has improved and more about an athlete’s ability to recover is prioritised, it seems backward to push forward a competition which they will be desperate to play in and push the demand on their body further — in turn damaging their pre-season and potentially the start of the following season as well, only to do it all over again a year later. Playing too many games will also hinder the quality of football being played, with people cramping up more regularly and pulling out of games before the tournament starts.  

Too much football?

While everyone adores the beautiful game, something about the World Cup being every four years makes it more special. There are only a handful of opportunities in a player’s lifetime to try and win the most illustrious tournament in the sport, and captivate the heart of the nation alongside it. Those poignant moments would happen more if the schedule is to change, but is it diluting the game? You can certainly have too much of a good thing, and in doing so there would either be Euros or Copa America, which themselves have created special moments for smaller nations who perhaps wouldn’t have the quality to create a similar surge of form in a World Cup and upset the bet exchange, or a tournament every summer causing massive scheduling difficulties. Either way It would certainly have a negative impact on the international game.

Fixture scheduling

Only time will tell how the next World Cup impacts the domestic season, with most of Europe’s top leagues suffering disjointed fixtures and inventible congestion in order to try and complete all of their games in a regular window. We have seen first-hand how coronavirus forced the season to restart a few weeks later and in turn the quality of football perhaps suffered, although one could argue the absence of fans didn’t help either. Regardless, in order for all of the league competitions, as well as the Champions League, Europe League and newly introduced UEFA Conference League, there will be plenty of fixtures to play in short succession — often to the detriment of sides with thinner squads.

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