GENEVA (AP) – The International Olympic Committee said on Saturday it had “concerns” about pressure from FIFA for World Cups every two years.
Although IOC President Thomas Bach said last month “we will not interfere in this discussion,” his organization intervened on Saturday after a meeting in Athens to detail the objections it shared with stakeholders of the IOC. soccer.
Clashes in the calendar with other sports, the Men’s World Cup eclipsing the women’s editions of the tournament and “massive new pressure” on athlete well-being were all cited in an IOC statement after a board meeting administration.
The IOC did not refer to potential future clashes between the World Cup and the Olympics – potentially as early as 2028, when the Summer Games are held in Los Angeles – in its statement.
The IOC criticized FIFA’s tactics in promoting the proposed biennial World Cup, noting that wider consultation across football “clearly has not taken place.”
FIFA unveiled its detailed plan last month, after meeting with retired players, to overhaul the schedule for international football competitions with biennial men’s and women’s World Cups at heart.
The proposal strongly supported by FIFA President Gianni Infantino was announced before formally consulting member federations in World Cup strongholds in Europe and South America.
The governing bodies of these regions, UEFA and CONMEBOL, have warned of a boycott of the World Cup if FIFA implements a plan that would undermine their continental leagues, which are held on the same four-year cycle. than the IOC Summer Games. All are expected by 2024.
The IOC cited “tennis, cycling, golf, gymnastics, swimming, athletics, Formula 1 and many others” as sports that would be affected by more World Cups.
“It would harm the diversity and development of sports other than football,” said the Olympic body.
FIFA, whose next scheduled World Cups are in 2022 and 2026, has not specified that it wants to stay in even years for a biennial Men’s World Cup. A switch to odd years, possibly from 2029, could be proposed.
During an Olympic briefing after a board meeting, spokesperson Mark Adams was asked if Infantino, who is an IOC member, had spoken with Bach about the World Cup’s two-year plan before going public. .
Adams said he could not give details although the IOC has kept in touch with the sport’s governing bodies.
Asked last month about FIFA’s plans at an IOC press conference, Bach suggested that “contributions from continental associations” – such as UEFA and CONMEBOL – clarified the issues.
FIFA has not set a formal date for a decision on its World Cup proposal, but has suggested that a meeting of its 211 national members could take place in December.
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