Has FIFA scrapped plans for a biennial World Cup?
FIFA pushed for the World Cup to shift format to a two-year cycle, but president Gianni Infantino dismissed the plans on Thursday.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has dismissed the plans for a biennial World Cup as he claimed the changes were never a formal proposal.
Led by chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, FIFA had promoted the idea for the World Cup to shift format and take place every two years – an idea strongly opposed by both UEFA and CONMEBOL.
Infantino claimed the alterations would yield significant financial returns if the plans were approved, with a boost of $4.4billion in the first four-year cycle of a new international calendar, which would climb to $6.6bn if each confederation also switched its regional competition to become biennial.
FIFA also published results from a study that claimed "the majority" of football fans would like to see more frequent World Cups, while UEFA said an independent survey called proposals "alarming".
But the prospects of those plans coming to fruition appear over after Infantino told the FIFA Congress, with 211 member associations in attendance, that the governing body never proposed the changes.
"Let me clarify one thing here – and I want to speak about some of the discussions and speculations on a biennial World Cup," he said on Thursday during his speech in Qatar. "Fifa has not proposed a biennial World Cup.
"Let's get the process clear. The last FIFA Congress asked the FIFA administration for a vote and 88 per cent voted in favour to study the feasibility of that and some other projects for women's and youth football.
"The FIFA administration, under the leadership of Arsene Wenger, did that. We studied the feasibility. But FIFA did not propose anything.
"FIFA came to the conclusion that it was feasible, but it would have some repercussions and impacts. The next phase was consultation and discussions and trying to find agreements and compromises.
"In addition to the confederations and the member associations, the clubs and the players present here as well, we tried to have a discussion and a debate to find what was most suitable for everyone.
"Everyone has to benefit, the big ones have to become bigger with the whole movement, and the smaller ones have to benefit to give opportunities to everyone and I'm thanking everyone for their input, their feedback, positive or negative.
"What is important is we have put national team football back on the agenda all over the world, we have to talk with the clubs, of course, which is the biggest part of where the players are playing.
"There are ways to find compromises and what is important is respect of the footballing institutions, of the football pyramid, with FIFA at the top, the confederations, the league, the clubs and the players all being involved, that is how football is organised and it is paramount we protect this structure from all organisational challenges."