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Gareth Southgate reveals meeting with Arsene Wenger over radical World Cup proposals

Gareth Southgate is open to change over the World Cup (Picture: Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate says he has met Arsene Wenger to discuss the Arsenal legend’s plans to make the World Cup come round every two years, and while the England boss is open to the proposal, clubs and UEFA are not.

Wenger is now working for FIFA as head of global football development and one of his big ideas is to make the World Cup biennial instead of its traditional slot of every four years.

FIFA are behind the idea and want to bring it in after the 2026 World Cup, but Wenger and his colleagues will have to secure wider support of the football community to successfully bring in the proposal.

The 71-year-old tried to convince Southgate of his idea in a recent meeting, and while the England manager was not dismissive, he was also not entirely convinced.

‘I met Arsene a couple of weeks ago, so I have a pretty good idea of the proposals,’ said Southgate. ‘There are many different strands so there are bits I thought could work, bits I think need more consideration and bits that probably wouldn’t work.

‘The whole calendar generally needs to be tidied up. Fewer matches, better quality, but there are lots of other things that need consideration and we can’t just add more in at the moment.’

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Wenger is now FIFA’s head of global football development (Picture: Getty Images)

Wenger will have some serious persuading to do to get major clubs on board with his plan, with Ajax chief executive and Manchester United hero Edwin van der Sar speaking angrily about the plan.

‘The clubs are not having it. It is a ludicrous idea. There is a lot of opposition. It would change everything,’ said the Dutchman.

‘Football is all about clubs first and has to be. We must put the players first and this would not do that. The Leagues will also have the same view.’

UEFA is also opposed, with president Alexander Ceferin saying: ‘More is not always better. FIFA is conducting a feasibility study into holding a World Cup every two years.

‘We think that the jewel of the World Cup had value precisely because of its rarity.

‘Holding it every two years will lead to more randomisation, less legitimacy and unfortunately dilute the World Cup itself.

‘Our players do not need to spend more of their summers consuming tournaments rather than spending it in relaxation with their families.’


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