FIFA President Gianni Infantino accused opponents of holding the World Cup every two years with “afraid of change”, while the Confederation of African Football announced its support for the proposal.
Neither UEFA nor the South American Football Confederation want to change the format for holding the World Cup every four years. The English Premier League was among the local football bodies that also voiced their opposition to the proposal.
On Friday, the Confederation of African Football became the first international body to support the FIFA proposal, saying it would agree to hold the World Cup every two years if the new format was decided at the end of the year.
“This happens in all areas, when change and reforms come, those at the top refuse to change anything, because they are at the top. They fear for their standing if anything changes,” Infantino said.
He added, “We understand that, and we congratulate and applaud them for their success in reaching the top. But we should not close the door, but rather keep the door open. We have to give hope and provide opportunities.”
On Friday, the CAF Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo voted unanimously to support FIFA’s proposal.
“If the feasibility study conducted by FIFA is positive, we support the proposal,” a CAF official said.
Infantino, who was present in Cairo, believes that “holding the World Cup sooner will enhance participation and raise the chances of qualification.”
Africa will be represented by only five teams in the Qatar 2022 finals, while the European Union will represent 13 out of 32 teams, while South America will represent at least 4 teams.
Ivory Coast coach Patrice Boumal accused FIFA of “killing African football” when it awarded the World Cup to Qatar.
The participation will expand to 48 teams in the 2026 World Cup finals, which will be hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico.
It is expected that Africa will have 9 teams in the 2026 round, and it may get an additional place in the intercontinental play-off matches.
FIFA’s director of development, Arsene Wenger, was behind the promotion of the idea of holding the World Cup every two years, and Infantino insists that the proposal provides more opportunities for small teams.
“We have to give more opportunities to African teams to participate in world football,” he said.
It is not clear how the African Confederation will act to organize the World Cup qualifiers every two years, in parallel with the African Nations Cup qualifiers, which are also held every two years.
“The Africa Cup of Nations competition will definitely continue,” said CAF President Patrice Motsebe.
“What we have to do is ensure that the players do not participate in more matches than they used to be. We will conduct a deep review of the competition, its structure.”
Video refereeing in the play-off matches and the Premier League in NSteam
Infantino confirmed the use of video refereeing in the play-off matches of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
The announcement came after Ghana snatched qualification to the crucial matches from South Africa thanks to a controversial penalty kick this month.
This incident prompted the South African Football Association to file a complaint with FIFA, which referred the case to a member of the disciplinary committee.
“We have included video technology to assist the referee because the task of the referee is very difficult,” said Infantino.
He added, “We have to provide the referee with the appropriate conditions for a good performance.”
The meeting in Cairo put forward the idea of establishing the Premier League in Africa, without providing details about it.
“Today we have clearly adopted the idea of this competition and its importance to African football, as it develops quality but also generates income, not for those teams and participating countries, but for teams and countries that do not participate in it as well,” Motsebe said.