The Premier League and the EFL have joined the growing ranks of opposition to the proposal to hold a World Cup every two years.
The leagues are members of the European Leagues group, which released a statement on Thursday morning saying it “firmly and unanimously opposed” plans from FIFA to shorten the gap between the showpiece tournament from four to two years.
The statement read: “The leagues have firmly and unanimously opposed any proposals to organise the FIFA World Cup every two years.
“The leagues will work together with the other stakeholders to prevent football governing bodies to take unilateral decisions that will harm domestic football which is the foundation of our industry and of utmost importance for clubs, players and fans across Europe and the world.
“New competitions, revamped competitions or expanded competitions for club and national team football both at continental level and/or at global level are not the solutions to the current problems of our game in an already congested calendar.
“The football calendar definitely requires the agreement of all stakeholders and can only be the result of a subtle balance between club and national team football and between domestic and international club football.”
In May, FIFA Congress agreed to a feasibility study into the calendar change, after it was requested by the Saudi Arabian football federation.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now FIFA’s head of global development, is consulting across the game about the plans and is due to address the media about it today.
Some 58 fan groups from around the world have also expressed their opposition to the plan, suggesting the blue riband tournament will be devalued and supporters will not be able to afford to attend more frequent competitions.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has also expressed “grave concerns” over the proposals.
A central concern in European football is the the already congested international fixture calendar. UEFA has expanded European competition, but FIFAis looking to increase the frequency of the Club World Cup and the World Cup.
The European Club Association (ECA) said earlier this week that ‘honest’ consultation was key, with its new chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of Paris St Germain, saying it was crucial that no “unilateral” decisions were made.
Raymond Domenech, the former France boss has also spoken out against the proposal.
He said: ‘The idea doesn’t make sense, it’s stupid. The fact it’s brought forward by Mr Wenger makes no sense. When he was manager he always went against the national teams. I had a number of disputes with him on players he didn’t want me to call up.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday he hoped a decision would be made by the world governing body’s member associations by the end of the year.
Source: All Football