FAM support biennial Fifa World Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: While Fifa refuse to back down over their biennial World Cup plan, as expected, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) fully support the initiative.

Fifa are currently making a financial pitch to win the support for biennial World Cups. Fifa president Gianni Infantino claims that revenue will jump from US$4.4 billion to US$11.4 billion over four years if the idea is endorsed by their 211 member associations.

However, it is facing opposition from the European and South American confederations as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

On Monday, Fifa conducted a virtual global summit with member associations to discuss their proposal to increase the frequency of the men's and women's World Cups and the Youth World Cup from every four years to two.

Fifa also shared the financial data from an overall feasibility study, underlining an increased revenue if their plan receives support from members.

FAM were represented by their deputy president Datuk S. Sivasundram and secretary-general Saifuddin Abu Bakar at the global summit.

Following the virtual summit, Sivasundram will present Fifa's 700-page feasibility study during FAM's executive committee (exco) meeting next year.

"I will present Fifa's report to FAM in the next exco meeting," Sivasundram told Timesport today.

"However, this is only the first stage of the biennial World Cup plan.

"FAM support the idea as it is in line with our president's (Datuk Hamidin Amin) vision."

Fifa have claimed that the move, if endorsed by their members, will double the number of permanent jobs to two million.

They also claimed that sponsorship and TV rights will grow significantly along with increased tickets sales and that member associations will reap the benefits with US$9 million rather than US$6 million now available to them for Fifa forward projects every four years.

Fifa chief of global football development Arsene Wenger, the former manager of Arsenal, is proposing halving the number of windows for international games outside of tournaments to only two per season.

UEFA and Conmebal have warned of a World Cup boycott if Fifa push ahead with a plan that would undermine their continental championships, organised on the same four-year cycle as the Olympic Games.

The IOC, meanwhile, are concerned about clashes in the schedule with other sports.

Sivasundram said the plan will help smaller football nations to grow.

"The increased revenue will accelerate the development of the game across the board. It will be beneficial to smaller associations.

"Furthermore, more nations will have a chance to play in the World Cup as they will receive better financial support.

"We are aware that several federations are against the plan, but we support it," he added.

However, if the biennial World Cup plan is implemented, Malaysia will still find it hard to qualify as they are even struggling to make an impact in Asean football.

Harimau Malaya ended their season by failing to qualify for the semi-finals of the AFF Cup in Singapore.

If the biennial World Cup proposal is endorsed by member associations, it will be implemented from 2024.

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