FIFA claim their proposals would generate billions in revenues which could be reinvested ©FIFA

FIFA has claimed a biennial World Cup would deliver an additional $4.4 billion (£3.3 billion/€3.9 billion) in revenues as the governing body held an online Global Summit today, but acknowledged proposals have faced opposition.

FIFA said it presented a 700-page report to 207 of the governing body’s 210 eligible members regarding the future match calendar.

A proposed biennial FIFA World Cup has been the key discussion point, with the FIFA Congress having approved a feasibility study in May.

FIFA says the feasibility studies produced by Nielsen and OpenEconomics would deliver significant increases in revenue, which would then be redistributed to member associations.

"We have been advised by independent experts that a switch to a biennial FIFA World Cup would provide a combined additional $4.4 billion (£3.3 billion/€3.9 billion) in revenue from the first four-year cycle, with these funds being distributed across our 211 member associations," said Gianni Infantino, FIFA President.

"This additional revenue would allow solidarity funding to move from the current level of $6 million (£4.5 million/€5.3 million) per cycle to up to potentially $25 million (£19 million/€22 million) on average per FIFA member association in the first four-year cycle, with the actual distribution being subject to FIFA’s governance principles."

FIFA said a solidarity fund of $3.5 billion (£2.6 billion/€3.1 billion) would be distributed, which the governing body says would also have capacity to mitigate against shortfalls made by calendar changes.

It is also claimed the FIFA’s Forward programme would see an increase of 50 per cent in distributions to member associations, amounting to $9 million (£6.8 million/€8 million) per cycle.

Nielsen research reportedly claimed confederations switching their men’s final tournaments to a biennial cycle would provide a boost of $6.6 billion (£5 billion/€5.8 billion) in the first four-year cycle.

Proposals for biennial FIFA World Cups have been fiercely debated ©Getty Images
Proposals for biennial FIFA World Cups have been fiercely debated ©Getty Images

OpenEconomics suggested a biennial FIFA Men’s World Cup could deliver a gross domestic product gain of more than $180 billion (£136 billion/€160 million) over a 16-year period, while generating two million full-time jobs.

European football’s governing body UEFA is among the fiercest opponents of the biennial FIFA World Cup proposal.

UEFA said a study by consultancy firm Oliver and Ohlbaum could cost European federations €2.5 billion (£2.1 billion/$2.8 billion) in a four-period cycle.

The organisation said the study presented a "deeply negative outlook for European national team football" if the proposals went ahead.

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), which strengthened its close ties with UEFA last week, previously claimed its members would not participate in a biennial FIFA World Cup.

The Confederation of African Football declared its support in favour of changing the cycle.

Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Football Confederation have all welcomed the opening of a consultation process.

The International Olympic Committee has expressed concerns over proposed changes.

Arsène Wenger has suggested opposition to the plans have been emotional responses ©Getty Images
Arsène Wenger has suggested opposition to the plans have been emotional responses ©Getty Images

FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger, who has been instrumental in FIFA’s match calendar plans, admitted the reforms face opposition.

"We face opposition, but what I regret is that 90 per cent of opposition is emotional and not facts," Wenger said.

"We have to get over this fear.

"Most of the emotions we face are based on fear to lose control of your own competition.

"There is a demand from young fans and demand in society for meaningful events.

"If we don’t create them, another sport will create them."

Despite opposition, Infantino claimed a majority would likely vote in favour of holding the FIFA World Cup every two years.

The FIFA President said the biennial World Cup proposal was not the sole topic, with agreement for the overall match calendar the ambition.

The current match calendars for women’s and men’s football are set to expire in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

Plans outlined by Wenger would reportedly seek to reduce the number of matches and travelling involved at the top level of the sport, as well as delivering more meaningful games.

This would involve restructuring international breaks in the calendar, with a month-long qualification window likely held for major tournaments, rather than several breaks in the same year.

Infantino offered no timeframe for discussions over the match calendar to conclude, although the Swiss official said further discussions are expected to take place with member associations next month.