Majority of fans want biennial World Cup . . . says survey for FIFA


majority of fans support the idea of a biennial World Cup, according to a survey commissioned by FIFA.

The world governing body has developed hugely controversial plans to shorten the gap between its showpiece event from four years to two, with former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger championing the changes.

The Football Supporters Europe group is opposed to the idea and wrote to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who replied to say he had “grave concerns” about the plans and has since told The Times that European countries could boycott the World Cup if the change is made.

However, FIFA says that globally there is support for the plan, and said the enthusiasm was greatest among younger fans in “developing markets” outside Europe.

“A survey has provided feedback as part of the feasibility study regarding the frequency of the men’s FIFA World Cup,” FIFA said in a statement.

“The findings of this online survey, conducted in July 2021, will be used as part of a wider consultation process involving fans, which will take place over several phases.

“Fifteen thousand respondents were identified as expressing an interest in football and the FIFA World Cup, from a broader market research survey involving 23,000 people in 23 countries, across six confederations, commissioned via IRIS and YouGov, independent industry experts.

“Based on initial results, the following conclusions can be drawn:

“The majority of fans would like to see a more frequent men’s FIFA World Cup; of this majority, the preferred frequency is biennial; there are considerable differences between the so-called traditional markets and the developing football markets; and younger generations in all regions are more open and interested in change than older generations.”

It is understood only respondents who expressed an interest in football and the World Cup were asked the question about World Cup frequency. The 23 markets which were selected included England, with around 1,000 targeted in each market.

FIFA said the results of an expanded survey involving over 100,000 people in more than 100 countries is under way and would be published in due course.

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