- Former Arsenal boss in favour of holding FIFA World Cup every 2 years instead of 4
- World governing body FIFA is looking into the feasibility of holding World Cup every 2 years
- Wenger talks about what can be done to minimise fatigue and injuries to players
The former Arsenal coach said a quality over quantity approach is needed while organising the international football calendar.
The former Gunners boss has spoken in favour of plans to hold the FIFA World Cup every two years as part of a revamp of the international football calendar.
World governing body FIFA is currently carrying out a feasibility study into making the men’s and women’s tournaments a biennial event rather than every four years.
The 71 year old former French footballer, Wenger, believes it would be possible to fit more World Cups into the schedule by reducing the number of qualifying games and international breaks during the season.
Wenger, who is now FIFA’s chief of global football development, has restructuring of international football on his agenda quite high on the list in recent months.
The Frenchman believes the current system of short international breaks dotted throughout the season is not suitable for the modern game as it places a greater strain on the players and can disrupt the campaigns of domestic teams.
Wenger cited the example of Robert Lewandowski, who was injured on international duty with Poland in March and subsequently missed both legs of Bayern Munich’s Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) the following month.
He told Kicker “I always had the feeling that the many shorter breaks were rather unfavourable for the players.
“Those were always moments of uncertainty. How are the players feeling mentally afterwards? Do you come back hurt?”
“This is exactly what happened to Robert Lewandowski, who was injured with the Polish national team against Andorra. That ruined Bayern’s entire Champions League season,” he added.
Wenger says there should be one-month-long international break in October for teams to play their entire qualifying campaign. This would see the number of days reserved for international breaks reduced from 50 days to mere 28 days, and the number of qualifying matches would drop to 7 from 10.
Wenger said, “The national teams can meet in October, play seven qualifying games for a month and then play the finals of a tournament in June.
“We want to reduce the number of games, that’s very important because we can see the condition of the players.”
Wenger argued that the reduction in the number of days reserved for international breaks would allow for a major tournament to be held every summer with sufficient rest time for the players afterwards.
Wenger believes that football fans prefer knockout tournaments to the qualifying games, so this would be simply giving them what they want.
He said, “We guarantee a period of rest after every tournament. Think of it this way: 2026 the World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada; 2027 a European Championship and the other continental tournaments; 2028 another World Cup; and so on.
“The competitions will all remain in place until 2024, and changes can only be made after that. More knockout matches, fewer qualifying games. That’s what the fans want”.