Two independent studies have suggested that FIFA’s economic situation would be dramatically improved if both men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups switch to a biennial format.
The findings, from Nielsen and OpenEconomics, were presented in front of 207 of a possible 210 of FIFA’s member associations (MAs). The presentation took place at the FIFA Global Summit and was staged as the ‘latest step in the future of football’.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino:
“We have been advised by independent experts that a switch to a biennial FIFA World Cup would provide a combined additional USD 4.4 billion in revenue from the first four-year cycle, with these funds being distributed across our 211 member associations,” he said.
“This additional revenue would allow solidarity funding to move from the current level of USD 6 million per cycle to up to potentially USD 25 million on average per FIFA member association in the first four-year cycle, with the actual distribution being subject to FIFA’s governance principles.”
Based on the findings, the following economic boosts would occur:
- A USD 3.5 billion (4.9 billion AUD) solidarity fund would be established with revenues to be distributed to all MAs, to inject an average of up to USD 16 million (22 million AUD) to every MA, while also retaining a capacity to mitigate against any financial shortfalls suffered by any MA due to the international match calendar changes.
FIFA’s Forward distribution for every MA would increase by 50% to USD 9 million (12 million AUD) per cycle.
- The overall uplift for world football would be in the region of USD 6.6 billion (9.1 billion AUD) in the first four-year cycle.
- A biennial cycle for the men’s World Cup would produce a gross domestic product (GDP) gain of more than USD 180 billion (249 billion AUD) over a 16-year period, while generating two million full-time jobs.
FIFA Chief of Global Football Development, Arsene Wenger:
“FIFA’s commitment to the future of football remains resolute, as we want to give every talent a chance, and to create the right environment to deliver on that promise through our competitions,” he said.
“We want to reorganise the international match calendar, especially to promote and improve football, while respecting all stakeholders – and that begins with the players themselves, by introducing a mandatory rest period.”
As part of his plan, national-team fixtures would be grouped together under a new international match calendar, leading to less travel for the players.
FIFA is planning for more consultations with confederations and MA’s early this year, with the opportunity to explore the idea in further depth.