LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) – The International Olympic Committee on Saturday hit out at FIFA’s controversial plans to hold the men’s football World Cup every two years, expressing concerns on the impact it could have on other sports.
The project, which has the backing of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger who now works for FIFA, has come in for heavy criticism from continental federations UEFA and CONMEBOL, as well as coaches and pundits.
The IOC added its voice to those opposing the proposals, saying that many sports federations had spoken out against the idea.
“The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) takes note of FIFA’s plans to change the football competition schedule and to hold the World Cup every two years,” the IOC said in a statement.
“A number of International Federations (IFs) of other sports, national football federations, clubs, players, players associations and coaches have expressed strong reservations and concerns regarding the plans to generate more revenue for FIFA.”
The IOC listed the “impact on other sports”, “challenges for the further promotion of women’s football” and a “further massive strain” on players’ health as reasons not to play the World Cup more regularly.
“The IOC shares these concerns and supports the calls of stakeholders of football, international sports federations and major event organisers for a wider consultation, including with athletes’ representatives, which has obviously not taken place,” the statement added.
The World Cup has been played every four years, apart from cancellations during World War II, since the inaugural edition in 1930.
FIFA also wants continental championships, including the Euro and Copa America, to be played every two years.