If Saudi Arabia had its way, fans would get to see the World Cup twice as often.
Saudi Arabia’s soccer federation officially asked FIFA on Tuesday to start holding the men’s and women’s World Cup every two years instead of every four years, according to The Associated Press.
The federation is “requesting a feasibility study to be carried out on the impact” of playing both tournaments every two years. That question will be posed at FIFA’s annual meeting with all 211 member federations, which will be held remotely on Friday.
Is a biennial World Cup possible?
This idea is nothing new in soccer.
A biennial World Cup was first proposed by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 1999. It was proposed again in 2018 by FIFA vice president Alejandro Dominquez, too.
While no proposal has been successful thus far, FIFA has repeatedly altered the World Cup in recent years. The 2022 tournament will be held in Qatar in November and December, a move made largely due to the heat the region faces each summer. The 2026 World Cup — which will be held jointly in the United States, Canada and Mexico — expanded by an additional 16 teams to 48 total.
The next women’s World Cup will take place in 2023 in both Australia and New Zealand.
Playing the event more often would bring in a lot of money. FIFA earns up to $6 billion for each World Cup, according to The Associated Press, and will likely surpass that figure during the 2026 tournament. From a financial aspect, playing twice as many World Cups would be hard to turn down.
Logistically, however, it would be rather difficult.
The World Cup almost always plays opposite of the Olympics, which provides fans a similar style tournament every two years already. Other regional championships are already in place, too, like the Copa America, the European Championship and even the new Club World Cup every winter.
Those competitions, along with club seasons and more, would be too numerous for players to safely compete in if the World Cup is played every two years.
Either way, such a change likely wouldn’t take place for another decade or so. FIFA is still deciding on who will host the 2030 tournament. If it decides to start holding the event every two years, it would almost certainly come after that tournament at the earliest.
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