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Monday, July 4, 2022

IOC members slam biennial FIFA World Cup proposal

Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have hit out at proposals to stage the FIFA World Cup biennially – the idea of colleague Gianni Infantino.

The FIFA President was not present at the 139th IOC Session here where three members slammed plans for the event to be held every two years instead of four.

More members would probably have criticised the plan if IOC President Thomas Bach had not stepped in to stop them. 

National Olympic Committees of Africa President Mustapha Berraf led the criticism at today’s IOC gathering in the Chinese capital, claiming the move would have a “heavy impact” on the continent and football in general.

“The plan would create immeasurable damage and would put in danger sport and in particular football,” said Berraf.

“It would simply push away other sports and relegate them to the back benches which is unacceptable and create a rift between women’s and men’s sport and be a setback to our aim of creating equity and parity for all sports.”

Berraf insisted footballers were “not robots” and needed to recover and spend time with their loved ones.

“I make the request to put an end to this endeavour which is incompatible with our Olympic values,” added Berraf.

Infantino sparked controversy when he claimed the biennial World Cup proposal could help prevent African migrants from finding “death in the sea”.

The Swiss official later insisted that his comment made during an address at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had been “misinterpreted and taken out of context”.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has since thrown its support behind Infantino but Berraf believes plans for the World Cup will “not help the development of sport in Africa”.

Nenad Lalovic, head of the United World Wrestling, and Ryu Seung-min, a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, also spoke out in opposition of FIFA’s plans.

Lalovic, a member of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), claimed the umbrella body had issued their criticism to FIFA.

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