Soccer-Four South Asian nations back FIFA's biennial World Cup push - Metro US

Soccer-Four South Asian nations back FIFA’s biennial World Cup push

FILE PHOTO: World Cup - Final - France v Croatia

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Governing body FIFA’s proposal to hold the World Cup every two years instead of every four has received support from four football federations in South Asia, who said it would spur development of the game in the region.

In May, FIFA’s congress voted to carry out a feasibility study on holding the World Cup and the women’s World Cup every two years, though proposals to change the established four-year cycle is set to face resistance from European governing body UEFA and the continent’s top clubs.

Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka said in a joint statement that they were among the 166 national federations who voted in favour at the congress.

“Four-year gaps between FIFA World Cup is too great – and the window of opportunity too small – to preclude whole generations of talent,” the federations said.

“Less than a quarter of current AFC member associations have been represented in almost a century of FIFA World Cup finals in a situation where these tournaments are the real drivers of development.”

The Asian Football Confederation is guaranteed four automatic spots and an intercontinental play-off slot in the men’s 2020 World Cup alongside tournament hosts Qatar.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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