Arsene Wenger has defended FIFA’s new biennial World Cup proposals.
The legendary Arsenal manager’s proposed changes for the international schedule has largely split opinion, with many arguing that a World Cup every two years will ruin the competition’s prestige and excitement.
It’s also been met with opposition from some players who are concerned about player welfare – like Thibaut Courtois for instance – as well as rival administrative bodies like UEFA who think it’ll interfere with their plans.
However, Wenger believes that there is no better alternative out there that will help the game continue to evolve.
“I consulted everyone and I asked them two questions. 1. Do you want things to continue as they are? 100 per cent said no. 2. Do you have ideas to reorganise the international calendar? I am open to all ideas,” he told L’Equipe, via the Daily Mail.
“Between 80 per cent to 90 per cent of people like the idea of reorganising qualification rounds, to shorten them, and to make space for an international competition.
“A World Cup every two years, there was more reticence towards it because there is something emotional in it. We are all in this routine and cycle of a World Cup every four years which seems natural. But when you look at history, it is not that natural.”
The Frenchman insisted that he is open to suggestions regarding better ideas but he’s yet to hear any more logical solutions.
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“I am open to all suggestions and all criticisms. They are welcome for me. This is not a personal fight for me. The only thing that I ask is that those who are criticising the project, that they give me something better. But don’t try to denigrate my credibility. I would prefer that people criticise the project and tell me why.”
Wenger says he understands why some people want to protect the value of the World Cup but thinks that his new schedule will help make football simpler.
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“It is normal to want to protect its prestige,” he added.
“But by analysing the perception of time in our modern society where everything is becoming quicker and quicker, the demand for major events is also greater and I want to keep this idea of clarity and simplicity in the world of football, that people understand which competition is being played.
“Football needs to remain a sport that is simple to understand.”