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FIFA Duels UEFA Over Adding World Cups

  • FIFA wants to double the frequency of the World Cup to every two years.
  • UEFA and CONMEBOL are opposed to the concept.
FIFA/Design: Alex Brooks

FIFA wants to double the frequency of the men’s World Cup to every two years, but it faces opposition from major governing bodies.

The global soccer organization released results of a 15,000-person survey indicating global support for the move.

However, Europe’s UEFA and its South American equivalent CONMEBOL both oppose the concept. UEFA hosts the Euro Cup every four years, and a biennial World Cup could compete with that tournament for fan attention and player participation.

CONMEBOL’s Copa America tournament would face similar challenges.

  • FIFA’s revenue is highly dependent on the World Cup — it typically posts losses three years out of four and makes it up in World Cup years. The organization took in $6.4 billion from 2017-2020, over 70% of which came in 2018.
  • UEFA’s revenue is much steadier. It earned between $2 billion and $3.5 billion each year from 2017-2020 for a total of $12.5 billion.
  • Qatar expects a $20 billion economic boost from hosting the 2022 World Cup.

Europe and South America combine for 65 of FIFA’s 211 affiliated associations, just short of the one-third needed to block any proposal, but UEFA and CONMEBOL have threatened to boycott additional World Cups should FIFA enact the proposal.

European and South American teams have won every World Cup in its 91-year history.