The European Club Association claims that Fifa’s new schedule will have a “direct and devastating influence on the club game.”
As part of a revamped international match calendar, the governing body of football has suggested a men’s World Cup every two years (IMC).
The planned revisions, according to the ECA, are “in clear and unilateral violation of certain legal requirements.” It also chastised Fifa for failing to consult on its reforms.
The ECA, which represents more than 230 clubs across Africa, stated that “changes are required” to the IMC in order to make it “modernised and easier,” but expressed dissatisfaction with Fifa’s goals and approach.
The ECA stated that it had “watched with extreme concern and alarm Fifa’s commencement of active PR efforts and much pretence, seemingly aiming to railroad through revisions to the IMC, including the implementation of a biannual World Cup” in a statement. Uefa, the governing body of European football, has stated that the plans pose four key “dangers” to the sport, including a potential loss of prestige for the World Cup and concerns about player welfare. It dismissed Wenger’s claim that the new schedule would help smaller nations’ competitive chances, claiming that the development of women’s football would be harmed since tournaments would be “deprived of exclusive slots and overshadowed by the proximity of elite men’s events.”
The ECA also stated: “Apart from the notable absence of meaningful (or indeed any) engagement, FIFA’s plans would have a direct and devastating impact on the club game, both domestically and internationally, as many stakeholders have pointed out in recent days.” Furthermore, the plans would jeopardise the health and well-being of athletes. They would weaken the significance and value of club and national competitions.
“Given the importance of the IMC to club football, and club football to the IMC, ECA reiterates in the most unequivocal terms that any decisions relating to the IMC’s future can only be made with the consent of football clubs, with player welfare at their core – and in accordance with legally binding obligations that should not need to be re-stated.”