FIFA President, Gianni Infantino has yet reiterated that Africa stands to benefit even more should the proposed biennial World Cup is eventually endorsed, Nation Sport can report.
The world soccer governing body is carrying out a feasibility study into the practicalities of altering the World Cup cycle from four years to two in a landmark plan being led by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development.
Should the proposal go through, it would affect international football calendar meaning continental championships including the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON); CONCACAF Gold Cup, European Championship and Copa America would be sandwiched in the alternate years.
But yesterday at the well-attended FIFA Council meeting Press Conference held in Zurich with some 351,116 participants, Infantino threw more light to the proposal as he responded specifically to the question by The Nation’s Sport Editor on the viability of a biennia World Cup for African Football Federations based on the inherent logistical problems around the African continent.
“I know when it comes to Africa in particular there is a huge passion for the game and there is incredible talent for the game. I believe with the right structure and infrastructure, football in Africa will grow immensely. Africa is indeed on the right track in this respect with the new CAF leadership as well,” the 51-year-old Swiss said matter-of-factly.
The FIFA World Cup has been awarded as a quadrennial event since its inaugural edition in 1930 with Africa hosting only once as recently as the 2010 edition in South Africa. Yet, Infantino alluded to the fact that the continent could be on the cusp of hosting its men’s and women’s World Cup when the biennial plan is eventually put in place.
“I think, more Africa countries can even come together to co-host the men or women World Cup in the future and this will definitely help in term of football development with the kind of enthusiasm we see on the continent,” Infantino continued.
“Obviously, I dream about the impact this can be on the infrastructure on the continent and I’m not talking only about the football or the stadiums but development in terms of the hotels, airports and this would be a great opportunity of presenting Africa to the world positively.”
Despite some hard stance against the biennial World Cup proposal especially by the European football governing body, UEFA as well as its South American counterparts, CONMEBOL, Infantino said as ‘father of all confederations’, FIFA will ensure that a common ground is found and a consensus reached for a successful take off of the World Cup under a two-year-format.
Towards this end, Infantino said a virtual global summit shall be held on Monday 20 December whereby all its 211 affiliated associations would have their say on the proposal before it can be adopted.
Meanwhile, Infantino informed the 72nd FIFA Congress shall be held on Thursday 31 March 2022 in Doha on the margins of the Draw for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Finals.
The first World Cup to be held in the Middle East will be hosted by the oil-rich Qatar between November 21st and 18th December 2022.