Germany slams FIFA biennial World Cup plan

Germany, whose team won in 2014, has strongly criticised FIFA plans for biennial World Cups.
Germany, whose team won in 2014, has strongly criticised FIFA plans for biennial World Cups.

The German soccer federation has issued strong criticism of plans to hold the men's World Cup every two years, warning that it would mean players risking more injuries and women's competitions being overshadowed.

FIFA claimed on Thursday that it has the support of fans for the World Cup to be held more often, but European soccer body UEFA and South American counterpart CONMEBOL are strongly against the idea and have said they could boycott extra tournaments.

The board of the German federation, known as the DFB, said FIFA had sidestepped its own ruling council by proposing the plans first to a group of former players, and that drastic changes "cannot be made without the approval of European associations and European soccer".

In a statement, the DFB said it "finds it incomprehensible that FIFA's top management, contrary to all principles of good governance, chose to present the proposal to the 'FIFA legends' and spread news of the meeting to the media rather than consulting the members of its own Council first."

Germany also expressed concern for women's events. The women's World Cup is currently held in odd-numbered years and avoids clashes with major men's tournaments.

A two-year World Cup cycle could potentially force continental championships to clash with the women's World Cup.

"If either a men's World Cup or European Championship takes plays every summer, the women's and junior tournaments would be marginalised in the shadow of the men's competitions," the DFB said.

Injuries are also a concern, the DFB argued, though FIFA has said it would seek to lighten the load on players by cutting back on non-tournament national team games.

Men's and women's players would face increased "physical and mental strain" and the new competition schedule "would lead to a significantly increasing risk of injury," the DFB said.

Australian Associated Press