Big on the news this week is chief of global football development at FIFA, Arsene Wenger. More specifically, on March 16th, 2021, he has proposed what can be considered bold but necessary. The main idea and proposal at hand is to alter the four-year cycle of World Cups and Euro tournaments to two-years. In order to do this, however, key changes would need to be made regarding the newly added Uefa Nations League tournaments, along with the current methods of World Cup qualifiers. This proposal would bring many positives to all parties involved in watching and participating in these tournaments: the fans, the players, etc. More on these benefits and what it means for each party involved will be explored here.
While fans and supporters love to enjoy the World Cup and reap the benefits of the beautiful game as well as the most watched sports tournament in the world, the players need arguably more focus and attention. This is obviously because they are the ones involved and participating in the tournaments, at least the respective countries and 26-man squads that will take part. Arsene Wenger’s proposition to bring the World Cup and the Euros every two years instead of the current four year cycle will bring many benefits to the players. For one, the players will have more holidays, four weeks to be more specific. This would provide better support and consideration for the players’ physical demands and aspects to football. While players are trained and paid to play the beautiful game to the best of their ability and on a daily basis, they are not robots. Therefore, a huge demand in physical ability is necessary for them to not only last the 90 minutes, but to also play their best football. Having more holidays by removing the Uefa Nations League tournaments, as well as having the World Cup Qualifier matches in shorter periods, such as two months in the year, would give them more rest. This could also positively impact the issue of long-term injuries, especially damaging ones for players looking to participate in World Cup and Euro tournaments respectively.
The group that will most definitely enjoy Wengers’ idea will be the fans. Having to wait every four years for the World Cup and Euros respectively is too long for most. Reducing the waiting time to two years and having a World Cup and Euros every other year would better suit the fans of the beautiful game. This would bring much joy and more games to watch and enjoy for the summer periods. However, the argument can be presented that having the World Cup and Euro tournaments more frequently will make it less valuable and meaningful for the winning team. In contrast, most sports including NBA and the NFL have their playoffs and super bowl tournaments annually. Overall, the fans all over the world will enjoy seeing their teams playing in the World Cup and Euro more frequently, and potentially, have more chances to win it.
The “Behind the Scenes”
Stakeholders and those working in the business/economical aspects of the national teams and their respective federations will also see benefits. From more financial funding and support, to more TV and marketing rights, these “behind the scenes’ members will see many financial opportunities. Football is a sport and also a business, and money flows and operates at astronomical numbers in some cases. With more fans around the world tuning in to radios, tvs, and social media for the tournaments, comes more money to those involved in the business aspects and operations. Sponsors will also look to take more opportunity and seek chances to be an official partner for future tournaments. Overall, most participants in the Sports Business Positions will seek benefits and will be a positive advocate for Wenger’s proposal as well.
Wengers proposal is a bold one in terms of asking to change the format and method of the way World Cup and Euro tournaments are held and placed in the four year cycle. However, impactful changes to the beautiful game are not new and VAR, offside and handball rules, are just a few examples of such changes. While not perfect and still in talks, Wengers proposal can bring many positives to the sport and everyone participating.