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  • Samson Omale

Study Claims Biennial World Cup Could Cost Leagues $9 Billion Per Season

A FIFA proposal for a World Cup every two years and changes to the Club World Cup could cost the big domestic soccer leagues and UEFA around $9 billion per season in lost TV rights and match day and commercial agreements.

This is according to the report commissioned by the leagues stating that frequent international competitions, as well as additional international club games, could lead to major changes in the national leagues, including a reduction in the number of teams competing in them, a shift from weekend to weekday games, and fewer domestic games.

The report, compiled by consultancies KPMG and FTI's Delta Partners and seen ahead of publication by Reuters, predicted that in addition to cutting club revenue, such a move would hit viewer interest in games. It says, it would also reduce advertisers' interest in domestic football and put strains on players, leading to poorer play.

President of soccer's world governing body Gianni Infantino has stated last month that FIFA was discussing holding the World Cup every two years instead of the current four-year cycle. Former Arsenal manager and FIFA's head of global development Arsene Wenger, has proposed a new calendar which would see a reduction in the number of international breaks for qualifiers, with one or two longer breaks to compress the qualification process.

He suggested holding World Cups in alternate years with continental championships such as the Euros and the Copa America in between.

He is also calling for mandatory rest periods to avoid player burn-out. However, the idea has run into strong opposition from UEFA, which runs the hugely popular and lucrative Champions League, and from national leagues such Italy's Serie A, Spain's La Liga, and England's Premier League, which have an enormous global following.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has argued that a more frequent World Cup would dilute its value and harm other competitions.

He has threatened to lead a European boycott of an additional World Cup. Wenger, speaking in September has said that club football is 80%, national team football is 20% and he wanted to keep that balance.

The report, which also involves the MLS, Mexico, Japan and South African leagues as well as the European big five, said even the least disruptive options would cost them billions annually.The biggest hit would be to TV revenues. It calculated that the 40 biggest domestic leagues around the world and UEFA club competitions like the Champions League stand to lose as much as 5 billion euros per season in audiovisual deals alone - more than a third of what the leagues make in TV rights today.

The report will be presented at the World Leagues Forum's Annual Meeting next week. The 2018 World Cup generated $5.37 billion in revenue for FIFA. The official EAC YouTube Channel. EAC is the premier destination for in-depth analysis of daily and weekly roundups, insightful political commentary, and informed perspectives.


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