France’s professional league slams biennial World Cup plan as ‘irreparably negative for the domestic leagues’


France’s Professional Football League (LFP) have publicly opposed the Arsene Wenger-led proposal for World Cup competitions every two years after adapting their 2022 calendar to accommodate the Qatar edition in a rare move which will feature Christmastime matches.

In an official communique, the LFP hit out at the lack of “prior consultation” due to FIFA’s “sole interest” and called the potential impact “irreparably negative” for leagues, clubs and players with France coming into the coming tournament as world champions after their 2018 success.

“Meeting on October 13, the LFP’s Board of Directors adopted a motion to oppose the plan to host the FIFA World Cup every two years,” said the statement. “Without prior consultation, FIFA wants to take a decision which is in its sole interest and the impact of which is irreparably negative for the domestic leagues and the clubs as employers of the players.

“This project would also provide for the lengthening of international periods, which would greatly disrupt the domestic championship series and provoke disinterest among supporters. The development of soccer does not pass only through the World Cup but also and above all rests on the domestic championships.

“As such, it would be preferable for FIFA to promote the development of professional leagues where there are none, as well as local leagues. The World Cup is a world heritage that must be preserved and not trivialized.”

In a separate release, the LFP confirmed that the 2022-23 season will begin in early August, as always, and finish at the beginning of June the following summer with the World Cup having already been played.

There will be a break from November 13 until December 28 for the World Cup in Qatar, meaning that French soccer will get a “Boxing Day” experience which has been debated in the past but that players will get very little time to prepare for the tournament or to recover should they reach the final.

“Exceptionally, the league (matchday 16) will resume on Wednesday December 28 as a French form of “Boxing Day,” read the communique. “The 17th round of Ligue 1 fixtures will take place on Sunday January 1 of 2023.”

The LFP is also expected to confirm the relegation of four teams in next season’s Ligue 1 in order to make way for the 18-team Championnat which will follow it accompanied by a new set of TV deals.





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