— Published 18 October 2021

Executive Board wants consultation on World Cup football

World Cup

Meeting in Athens, Greece, on the sidelines of the lighting of the flame for the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, the Executive Board did not rule out the issue of the moment in the sports movement: FIFA’s plan to hold the World Cup every other year. The Olympic body explained that it had “taken note” of the proposal, which was the least it could do in the face of a scenario that would place the World Cup in competition with the Summer Games. Above all, its Executive Board explained that it “shares the concerns” of the many players in the sports movement, including international federations, clubs and football players’ associations. It notes that “the increased frequency and dates of the World Cup would create a conflict with other major international sporting events, notably in tennis, cycling, golf, gymnastics, swimming, athletics and Formula One”. It points out that “the increase of men’s events in the sporting calendar would pose a challenge to the further promotion of women’s football.” Finally, the IOC Executive Board suggests that “doubling the frequency of the World Cup would create significant additional pressure on the physical and mental health of players.” There is no question, however, of declaring itself openly hostile to the project prepared by Arsène Wenger and supported by Gianni Infantino. The IOC cautiously explains that it “supports the calls from football stakeholders, International Sports Federations and major event organisers for a broader consultation, including with athletes’ representatives, which has clearly not taken place”.