First step taken: FIFA Congress opens the door for World Cup revolution

The FIFA Congress votes in favor of a feasibility study for holding World Cups every two years. Gianni Infantino rejects the criticism of Qatar and the Super League.

The criticism on various fronts made Gianni Infantino ice cold. The FIFA President skilfully dismissed the allegations in the Super League and the renewed objections to the World Cup in Qatar, Infantino was in a good mood. Finally, the 71st Congress of the World Football Association opened the first door for his next big revolution: World Cups for women and men could soon take place every two years.

166 of the 209 member associations voted on Friday for the implementation of a corresponding feasibility study. Only 22 member nations voted against the proposal of the Saudi Arabia, which is very close to Infantino. This is the next small step on his mission, because the creation of larger and more competitions under the umbrella of FIFA is a particular priority for Infantino – but of course also the generation of additional income.

Although he held back with regard to the innovation in terms of world championships, he again confirmed thought games about general changes to the international game calendar. “We have a blank sheet of paper and are open to all views and opinions on how we can make the calendar better. Maybe we can’t, but we have to try. We have to be open,” said the 51-year-old.

With the exception of a long break during World War II, the World Cup has always been held every four years. A change would ultimately have to be decided by the FIFA Council. Infantino conceded that the existing model of football was “not perfect”. But nobody has to “break out of our structures in order to master the current challenges”.

Infantino: FIFA is against Super League

The New York Times had reported on Thursday that FIFA, in the knowledge of Infantino, had been involved in talks with the founders of the Super League in the past few months and even signaled its willingness to support them. Spain’s league president Javier Tebas had already spoken about Infantino’s involvement in these plans: “It’s he who is behind the Super League, and I’ve already told him that personally.”

Infantino rejected this as well as renewed discussions about the upcoming World Cup host Qatar. “We have made some progress. We know that there are challenges and that more can be done. But every discussion should be based on verified facts,” said the Swiss, responding to the request from six Nordic associations.

The associations from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the Faroe Islands had asked FIFA to publish independent reports and investigations into the deaths and injuries of guest workers on the World Cup construction sites. Infantino reiterated that the issue was “top priority” for FIFA. “Significant progress” has been demonstrated by independent human rights organizations.

A change in the offside rule was also another topic at the congress. “You shouldn’t deny a goal because your nose is offside,” said Infantino. According to this, a player should no longer be offside if a part of the body is still on the same level as the penultimate player of the opposing team in order to score a goal. Tests of the new offside rule in America and China, as well as the feasibility study for the World Cup, will continue for a while.

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