England boss Sarina Wiegman says she’s against the World Cup being staged every two years, stressing it wouldn’t be good for player welfare.
The FA are among a number of football federations that have been invited to talks by FIFA on the next stage of the international calendar, with the main proposal being that of a World Cup every two years instead of four.
FIFA claims its findings from opinion polls suggest fans are in favour of this new schedule. More than 15,000 respondents, aged at least 18, took part in the survey, with results showing “considerable differences between the so-called traditional markets and the developing football markets.”
While a follow-up survey involving more than 100,000 people is now being done, European soccer body UEFA and South American federation CONMEBOL have already opposed FIFA’s proposal and threatened to boycott future World Cups.
Women’s football already has two major world tournaments within a four-year cycle as many of the world’s best teams compete at the Olympics, like in Tokyo this year, as well as the World Cup itself.
Former USA head coach Jill Ellis has been appointed as FIFA's lead to the Technical Advisory Group on the future of women's football. Speaking to Sky Sports News, she said: "I've heard the idea for a few years now about a bi-annual World Cup. Right now what I would say is that I'm open to everything, every initiative and every perspective that can grow the landscape.
"So would that be under consideration? Certainly. But I want to learn more about it, I want to learn more about the perspectives of others who will be sitting at the table as well.
"In terms of the growth of the game, the World Cup for women is the most visible event but there is also a lot of work to be done in terms of every platform that's out there."
When asked if she’d be in favour of FIFA’s new idea, Wiegman was adamant in her rejection of the proposal. “I wouldn’t do it,” she stressed.
“I think it’s not very good for player welfare. In Europe, it’s very well organised and you have very good competitions. We have the Euros, then you have the Olympics and then you have the World Cup, which are all major tournaments for us from Europe.
“And I think when you have all thee tournaments every year, where are the players going to get some rest and recover from very intense football every year? Players are not robots, so I don’t think it’s a very good idea.”
Wiegman elaborated further to say she’d like to be consulted about FIFA’s plans and hopes she will be asked.
“I hope all the stakeholders will be asked and they will take some advice from them. I think coaches with international experience are also the stakeholders, so they should have the discussion.”
England international Demi Stokes was also critical of FIFA’s idea and admitted it’s often mentality and physically hard for players to recover after major international tournaments.
“I think the welfare plays a role, obviously physically, but especially mentally as well. When you come back from a tournament wherever it’s been, it’s very taxing and very draining and to go back to your club, I think you need that time to recover.
“Already you can see from the tournament’s that have come up that players do get injured and people do struggle, so I think to do it every two years is asking a lot of players.”