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World Cup ex-players meet Arsene Wenger to discuss International Calendar Change

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John Terry and Michael Owen are among a number of former players speaking to FIFAs Chief of Global Football Development, Arsene Wenger, about major changes to the international match calendar.

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Former Arsenal manage, Wenger is leading a consultation on having men’s and women’s World Cups every two years.

That follows May’s proposal from the Saudi Arabian football federation.

But Fifa and Uefa both say that too much football is being played.

However, the two governing bodies have different views about how to address the situation.

Wenger said in May that he wanted to see the World Cup and European Championship played every two years and have Fifa “kick all the rest out”, including Uefa’s Nations League competition.

He vowed to include all the game’s major stakeholders in the extensive consultation process.

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In addition to former England players Terry and Owen, former Brazil striker Ronaldo and Germany midfielder Sami Khedira were also among the group Wenger spoke to in Doha this week.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is keen on the idea of a World Cup every two years but the plan is meeting strong resistance from both European football governing body Uefa and its leading clubs, through the European Clubs’ Association.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin says holding the World Cup every two years would “dilute” the tournament, while ECA vice-president Michael Gerlinger said it would be “impossible” to manage the tournament in such a timeframe.

The aim, according to Fifa, is to “assess the options for change to make the game truly global”.

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Speaking prior to England’s World Cup qualifier against Poland on Wednesday, England boss Gareth Southgate reiterated his call for governing bodies to work together so the calendar could include all competitions, both at club and international level.

He said,”I can see that the game always needs to evolve and be forward thinking, but also there are some traditions that are very special and maybe are worth protecting.

“It is a welcome decision to discuss the overall calendar and that includes the demands on the players in particular.”

Wales winger Gareth Bale says he is against the idea of a biennial World Cup as it would “lose the history”.

“I like the tradition of every four years, it has the prestige. Like the Olympics coming around every four years, it feels that little bit more special,” he added.

The men’s World Cup has been held every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 because of World War Two.

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The women’s tournament has also been every four years since it started in 1991.

Meanwhile, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has been elected on to the board of the ECA.

There has been no English representative on the ECA board since the six English ‘Super League’ clubs resigned from the body in April.

Written by Ishaq Mustafa

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