FIFA’s Infantino opens door to barring teams from certain World Cups if two-year plan goes through

·2-min read
 (FIFA/AFP via Getty Images)
(FIFA/AFP via Getty Images)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino is open to the idea of barring countries from participating in certain World Cups, as part of his plan to hold the competition every two years.

The sport’s governing body is pushing ahead with plans to increase the number of World Cups despite opposition from European nations, with Infantino vowing to “respect the opinions of everyone” amid talk of smaller nations voting the concept through.

In a call with UEFA members on Tuesday, reported by the AP news agency, Infantino responded to a question from Portuguese FA general secretary Tiago Craveiro on the possibility of teams being prevented from competing in each tournament.

He is said to have replied: “I welcome as well the idea of Tiago to say, well, we need more participation.

“Maybe there is a way of doing that by having two World Cups, but not with the same teams participating.

“I don’t know. This is something that the technical people will study, but this is certainly something that we have to look into.”

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has vowed to fight any biennial proposals for the World Cup, with several European nations considering quitting FIFA is the plan goes ahead due to concerns over diluting the showpiece event and player safety.

A vote could be held before the end of the year, with all 211 associations having an equal say on the matter. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is one of the figures spearheading the plans.

Infantino, 51, reportedly told UEFA delegates: “I believe as well that the enemy of football is not the World Cup or is not FIFA but it is other activities that young boys and young girls are running after today.

“And we need to see how jointly and together we can bring them back to be interested in football. And we want to, as far as I’m concerned, do this all together as we have always been doing in the last few years.”

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