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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gareth Bale not in favour of biennial FIFA World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar could be Gareth Bale's last opportunity to play in the tournament but the forward said making the competition a biennial event would diminish its appeal.

By: Reuters |
Updated: September 8, 2021 9:38:56 am
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their first goal against Belarus. (Reuters)

Wales captain Gareth Bale said he is not in favour of a FIFA proposal to hold the World Cup every two years.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be the 32-year-old’s last opportunity to play in the tournament but the winger said making the competition a biennial event would diminish its appeal.

“I like the tradition of every four years. It has that prestige, like the Olympics where it comes around every four years. It feels that little bit more special because it’s not happening too often,” Bale said.

“It does make it that bit more prestigious … I don’t really like that every two years because it loses that bit of history.”

Manchester City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano said the football calendar was already overwhelmed.

“There is no space for anything,” he said. “No room at all. The players cannot play more games.”

Nasser al-Khelaifi, the European Club Association (ECA) president and Paris St Germain chief executive, and Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani urged FIFA to engage with clubs on the matter.

“I would like every four years but perhaps there could be a discussion around every three,” Radrizzani added.

A joint statement signed by Football Supporters Europe (FSE) and fans’ groups from across the six confederations called on FIFA to abandon their proposals.

“Such a move threatens to destroy the already fragile balance between local, domestic, continental, and international competitions and calendars,” the statement read.

“The game needs to change. But it needs to change for the better. We do not want or need more World Cups.”

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