MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – FIFA has invited the coaches of all 211 men’s national teams to a meeting about their plans for a biennial World Cup and new international match calendar, the organisation said on Monday.
Video conferences for the coaches will be held on Tuesday and Thursday and will be led by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of Global Football Development.
UEFA have vowed to oppose FIFA’s plans until they are dropped by FIFA and sources told Reuters on Friday that European bodies will refuse to participate in any new tournament and calendar if the plans are pushed through at a planned vote in December. [L1N2RB1H8]
“As a coach of the men`s national teams, their input is essential,” Wenger, who has been central to the development of FIFA’s plans, said in a statement.
“Opportunities for us to come together are few and far between, but we must embrace these occasions as such dialogue helps us all to protect the unique place that football has in the world and to make it truly global.”
FIFA has argued that a biennial World Cup would lead to increased chances for countries to play in the tournament and that a streamlined qualification process, with fewer international breaks, would reduce travel for players.
UEFA says that a more frequently held World Cup would dilute the competition’s prestige and that holding major tournaments every year would increase the load on players and crowd the schedule.
FIFA is holding a separate consultation about the future of women’s football, headed by former U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis.
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)