Wednesday 8 September 2021 8:56 am

Manchester City and Leeds United chiefs hit back at Fifa bid for more frequent World Cups

Manchester City and Leeds United chiefs have joined the chorus of opposition towards Fifa’s plans to stage the World Cup every other year.

City chief executive Ferran Soriano told The Times: “There is no space [in the calendar] for anything. No room at all. The players cannot play more games, for sure.”

Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani called on football’s world governing body to engage with other stakeholders and suggested there could be scope for a compromise solution.

“I would like four but perhaps there could be a discussion around every three [years],” said Radrizzani. “Why shouldn’t Fifa engage? In my opinion there is a disconnect.”

The men’s World Cup has been staged every four years since their inception in 1930, with continental competitions such as the European Championship taking place in other even-numbered years.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is keen to stage the global showpiece more regularly, and has support from the African confederation.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now in a senior football development role at Fifa, has been one of the most vocal supporters of the plans.

But Europe, which has less to gain from the suggested change, is largely opposed to more regular World Cups.

Aleksander Ceferin, president of European governing body Uefa, and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain who represents 247 leading teams as chairman of the European Club Association, have fought back this week.

“The jewel of the World Cup had value precisely because of its rarity,” said Ceferin. Al-Khelaifi said: “Fifa haven’t approached us yet. Let them approach us, then we will have a discussion.”

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