Football’s governing body, FIFA, has claimed fans support its idea of hosting a World Cup every two years from 2028.
The global agency says it conducted the survey among fans as part of a feasibility study into increasing the frequency of competition from the current four-year cycle.
FIFA surveyed 23,000 respondents in 23 countries across all six confederations and 15,000 people “were identified as interested in football and the… World Cup.”
Arsene Wenger has put forward plans to change the World Cup to two every four years
In a statement, FIFA added: “Based on the initial results, the following conclusions can be drawn:
“The majority of fans would like to see a more frequent FIFA World Cup for men; of this majority, the preferred frequency is every two years. There are significant differences between the so-called traditional markets and the developing football markets and younger generations in all regions are more open and interested in change than older generations.’
However, a biennial World Cup is a controversial proposal.
Earlier this month, 58 fan groups from around the world expressed their opposition to the idea in a campaign coordinated by Football Supporters Europe.
In addition, the European Leagues, an umbrella body that also includes the Premier League, object to the plan.
Former Arsenal boss Wenger is currently trying to rally support for his new, radical plans
Arsene Wenger presented his plans for the reform of the international calendar to journalists
His plan includes reducing the number of international windows. The current situation – status quo – shows five windows in red. Wenger proposes two options, in the first there is only one window every season and in the second there are two that reduce the number of players
In the second part of his proposal, Wenger proposes hosting a World Cup every two years, filling the year in between with an international competition within each confederation.
And UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin even suggested that his confederation and his South American counterpart could boycott a more frequent competition.
Still, FIFA is determined to pursue the idea. It has emphasized the dominance of European and South American football in the global game and wants more countries, from less developed confederations, to have the opportunity to participate in a World Cup and host a tournament.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin (left) has already made his opposition clear
In addition, the vast majority of FIFA’s revenue comes from the World Cup, so holding a match more often will massively increase cash and potentially undermine UEFA’s revenue if competitions come under pressure.
FIFA said the investigation was conducted online in July by IRIS and YouGov.
The exact results and questions were not disclosed. FIFA said the results of an extensive survey of more than 100,000 people in more than 100 countries are underway and will be published in due course.
In May, FIFA approved a study to hold the World Cup every two years, instead of every four years, at the request of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, now FIFA’s head of global football development, has developed the idea and has begun consulting former players and coaches.
The new plans would allow international players (like the England squad above) to travel less
In his proposal, international qualifiers would be consolidated into one or two windows and there would be a tournament at the end of each season, with the World Cup taking place every two years.
Wenger insists there would be no more matches than on the current international calendar, players would be given 25 days rest before the start of a new season, there would be less disruption to domestic football and fans would have the chance to watch international matches from higher quality view.
As part of a determined campaign to promote the two-year World Cup, FIFA has begun consultations with former players and coaches. It says it has spoken with 80 high-profile figures in the game, all of whom are said to be supportive.
Last week, a new Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the future of men’s football, with players and coaches from all six confederations met in Doha, Qatar.
Tim Cahill is one of the former players consulted by FIFA and he supports a biannual World Cup
Among them were former Everton and Australia international, Tim Cahill, the legendary goalkeeper of Manchester United and Norway international, Peter Schmeichel and Brazil’s Ronaldo.
Together with Wenger, they praised the virtues of a biennial World Cup and a reformed playing calendar.
Wenger told an online press conference: “I have been asked by 166 countries how it is possible to hold a World Cup every two years. Overall, I have had a very positive response and the decision will be made by the 211 member countries of FIFA.
“Our mission is to plan and shape tomorrow’s football and improve the competition of global football. The goals used to be less travel for players, no increase in games, guaranteed rest for players and more meaningful games, which is what the fans are demanding, and more opportunities to shine and close the gap.
“All confederations should have access to top, top games, not just Europe and South America.