FIFA’s decline plan for biennial World Cups was branded football’s threat to all other sports by the International Olympic Committee on Thursday.
IOC President Thomas Bach has chastised his FIFA counterpart Gianni Infantino, an IOC member for two years, for not being in Beijing to hear criticism.
“We would all have loved to discuss FIFA’s proposal for a biennial World Cup with the FIFA President and IOC member,” Bach told around 100 colleagues at the traditional pre-Olympic meeting, some of whom were present. in person and others watching from a distance. .
Bach added, breaking with the usual politeness of IOC gatherings, that speaking directly to Infantino “is not possible against all odds as he canceled his visit to Beijing the day before yesterday.” Infantino had to watch from a distance, either from FIFA’s hometown of Zurich or Doha, where he was living ahead of this year’s World Cup. The tournament in Qatar begins in November.
The FIFA president has put forward a plan to hold men’s and women’s World Cups every two years instead of four. FIFA believes the plan will accelerate the development of football around the world, close the gap with European clubs and national teams that dominate competitions and add billions of dollars in revenue that it can share among its 211 national federations.
Infantino has strong support from Africa for the plan. But European and South American football bodies have said they will boycott the biennial tournaments.
FIFA’s plan has “no chance” of succeeding, South American soccer president Alejandro Dominguez told The Associated Press last week.
Mustapha Berraf, the president of the African Group of National Olympic Committees, led the IOC’s opposition on Thursday, saying the biennial World Cups would have a “heavy impact” on his continent.
“The plan promoted by FIFA as we speak would create immeasurable damage and endanger sport in general,” Berraf said.
IOC executive committee member Nenad Lalovic, representing summer sports, and Olympic gold medalist in table tennis Seung Min Ryu said adding more World Cups would increase the workload for players and put their health at risk.
“There comes a time when athletes have to say, ‘Stop,'” Ryu said.
After four interventions from IOC members, Bach asked for and received applause to convey the feeling of the room to Infantino.
Infantino has already faced criticism from sports executives when Bach and the IOC held an online meeting in December.
The momentum of FIFA’s plan stalled after European and South American officials expressed concern. Infantino then fired plans for an expected vote on the issue in December.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)