FIFA chief Gianni Infantino ‘plotting major World Cup rule change’

Argentina team parade in Qatar after World Cup win

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino hopes to hold a World Cup every three years as part of his latest radical plans to revolutionise international football. The 2022 Qatar World Cup was a roaring success on the pitch and produced record-breaking figures off it, leaving Infantino hungry for more before his term concludes.

According to the Mail, this winter’s showcase in Qatar generated record revenues of £6.2billion, a jaw-dropping increase on the 2018 Russia World Cup’s £840m. Stars quickly extinguished fears of a mid-season burn-out as the Middle East saw a whopping 172 goals scored, more than any other edition in the tournament’s history.

Many have touted the 2022 World Cup as the greatest of all time, a stance bolstered by Argentina and France’s thrilling final showdown on Sunday. Infantino believes staging the tournament in the winter has sparked positive change and is proof that international football can continue to evolve.

The report adds that the Qatar World Cup’s commercial and sporting success has fuelled the FIFA president’s long-term ambition of an updated tournament cycle. It includes a World Cup every three years rather than four, with the expanded Club World Cup and continental competitions like the Copa America and European Championship taking place in the other years.

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Infantino intends to oversee the change, last week confirming his intention to serve three full terms as FIFA’s top dog, staying in office until 2031. With stakeholders close to agreeing on the 2024 to 2030 international football calendar, he won’t be able to implement the change until after the 2030 World Cup.

However, it has been claimed that talks over Infantino’s radical long-term plan have already started behind closed doors. And despite UEFA and CONMEBOL working together to snuff his and Arsene Wenger’s desire for a bi-annual World Cup, he has received support for the new idea from Africa and Asia.

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FIFA would likely face resistance from many players over a World Cup every three years, given it would leave little room for rest between increasingly-hectic club football seasons. After the month of enthralling action in Qatar, though, plenty of fans could champion the idea.

The international football calendar is set to remain largely the same up until the next World Cup in 2026, hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. But by then, FIFA could have made their long-term plan concrete amid the ever-changing game.

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