France star Mbappé and Poland’s Lewandowski query sense of biennial World Cup
rfi.fr– Star strikers Kylian Mbappé and Robert Lewandowski have added their voices to the growing list of opponents to a football world cup every two years.
Mbappé, who won the trophy with France in Russia in 2018, said a biennial event would reduce the prestige of the tournament.
“That shouldn’t be the case,” added the 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward on the sidelines of the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai where he picked up the prize for best player of 2021.
“The World Cup is a special thing because it is once every four years and you want to keep it special.
“If you want to have the best competition in the world every two years then it can start to become normal and I don’t want it to be normal I want it to be something amazing … something that maybe you only get to play in once in your life.”
Rest is important
Poland international Robert Lewandowski, who won two prizes at the gala ceremony, echoed Mbappé’s views. “We have a lot of games in the year, very dense weeks. If you want to give something different to the fans, you need a break.”
The Bayern Munich striker added: “If we want to play a World Cup every two years, the level will drop. It’s impossible for the body and mind to perform at the same level.”
Gianni Infantino, the head of world football’s governing body Fifa, has championed the idea of a World Cup every two years.
He says it will bring in much needed revenue for the poorer footballing confederations.
In October, Infantino toured Venezuela – who have never played in a World Cup – to drum up support for his idea.
“The possibility of reforming the calendar with a World Cup every two years has been analysed,” he said.
“It is possible. There are many advantages, because it gives more opportunities to many more countries to participate.
But the world’s most powerful football administrator faces blowback from the influential continental ruling bodies in South America and Europe who have provided the winning nations since the inception of the competition in 1930.
Aleksander Ceferin, the president of European soccer’s governing body Uefa, admitted his concerns about Infantino’s plans in September.
In a letter to Ronan Evain, the executive director of Football Supporters Europe, Ceferin described fans’ worries about Fifa’s proposals as extremely valid and important.
The 2022 World Cup takes place in Qatar between 21 November and 18 December. It will be the last time 32 teams feature.
From 2026, 48 nations will vie for the crown – the result of another Infantino branchild.
They will be placed in 16 groups of three with the top two advancing to the last 32 knockout stages.
Unlike previous editions, if the score is level after 90 minutes during pool matches, the sides will play extra time and a penalty shootout if necessary to decide the winner.
Organisers say this format will stop the possibility of teams arranging a draw when the third team is not playing.