A survey conducted by international players’ union FIFPRO has found that 75% of professional footballers want the FIFA World Cup to continue being contested every four years.
The organisation released its findings amid ongoing debate as considerations to make the tournament a biennial event.
Those plans have drawn widespread criticism from many football fans, pundits and officials and these findings show that the players are also against the idea.
More than 1000 players across the globe were surveyed and the findings also revealed that the World Cup ranks alongside the players’ respective domestic league as the “favourite competition”.
A statement released by FIFPRO said: “Seventy-five percent of men’s professional footballers want to keep the FIFA World Cup every four years, according to a survey of more than 1,000 players organized by FIFPRO and national player unions about workload and competition formats.
“In one of the other key findings of the survey, most players rank the World Cup and their domestic league as their favourite competitions.
“FIFPRO and its domestic member unions surveyed men’s players in November following a proposal by FIFA to switch the World Cup to a biennial format. When the proposal was first mooted, FIFPRO said that any plans to change the match schedule must have the agreement of players and began a process to canvas their opinion as part of a wider consultation on workload in the men’s game.
“The survey gathered the opinions of players from six continents, including over 70 different nationalities.”
Interestingly, the union also broke down some of the key aspects of the survey and how the differed in different continents.
It found that Europe and Asia were most in favour of keeping the event every four years while there was slightly less support for a continued quadrennial competition in America and less still in Africa where the majority were actually for change.
The findings showed:
- 77% of players from both Europe and Asia prefer a World Cup every four years
- 63% from the Americas said they favour the tournament every four years
- 49% of players in Africa prefer a World Cup every four years, with the remainder split between a two or three-year cycle.
The statement continued: “While a clear majority of players support the current frequency of the World Cup, a demand exists, particularly in smaller and medium-sized markets, to further develop and strengthen national team competitions.
“This is in line with FIFPRO’s position on encouraging investment into regional competitions, based on the requirements of the local market.”
The other key finding of the survey was that 81% of players rank either their own domestic league or the FIFA World Cup (in its current four-year cycle format) as their favourite competition.
The statement concluded: “Domestic leagues are among the leading competitions in the eyes of players, underlining the importance of protecting and strengthening these championships. However, it is also clearly apparent that the value which players attribute to international club and national team football remains significant. The World Cup every four years ranks consistently high in the preferences of players across different countries.”
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