Footballers Up in Arms as Mbappe, Lewandowski Lead Opposition to FIFA's Biennial World Cup Plans
12:15 GMT 28.12.2021 (Updated: 09:16 GMT 18.11.2022)
FIFA's plans to host a biennial World Cup are increasingly dividing the football world. While former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has come out in support of the sport's global governing body, UEFA and CONMEBOL – the organisations administering the game in Europe and South America respectively – oppose the move.
's proposed revamp of the international football calendar, including a proposed switch to a World Cup every two years, instead of the current quadrennial affair, has been met with intense opposition.
After UEFA and CONMEBOL's opposition, now two of the game's biggest names – Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski
– have raised their voice against the proposed changes to the World Cup.
"To play the World Cup every two years, it would make this competition normal, and that should not be the case", Mbappe told reporters while collecting the "Best Men's Player of the Year" award at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards on Monday.
"Over a season, we would have to play 60 games a year. The Euro, the World Cup, the Nations League… We like to play but it is too much. If people want to see quality, I think we need to take a break", the Frenchman added.
Bayern Munich frontman Lewandowski agreed with Mbappe that the overall quality of football would go down if the tournament was hosted every two years, because the players would be forced to play a large number of games during a short time frame.
"We have a lot of games in the year, very busy weeks. If you want to give the fans something different, you need a break", the Bayern striker said as he claimed the "Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year" and the "TikTok Fans Player of the Year" in Dubai.
"We have to look ahead, if we want to play a World Cup every two years, the level will drop. It's impossible for the body and mind to perform at the same level", he concluded.
According to FIFA's estimates, a biennial World Cup would generate an additional $4.4 billion in revenue during its first four-year period.
Only last week, FIFA president Gianni Infantino sought support from member associations in favour of the institution's controversial plans.
The Swiss-Italian football administrator also promised to form a $3.5 billion "solidarity scheme" to support the sport in underdeveloped nations if a World Cup every two years becomes a permanent fixture in the near future.