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Yet More Greed in Football

Following on from the European Super League debacle, the latest attempt by football authorities to destroy fans love of the game is a proposal to study whether the World Cup could be held every two years instead of 4. In this case it’s FIFA who are seeing petrodollars in their collective greedy eyes following their selling out of the tournament to Qatar and their slave-built stadiums and in a challenge to the financial power of Europe and UEFA.


The only motivation for this is pure greed, both on the organisers, FIFA, and the main supporters, the African confederation. Basically, the idea is that the tournament would move around like a circus, with each country\continent sharing in the supposed wealth it would generate. To illustrate the financial rewards, the World Cup is the main source of income for FIFA, accounting for around £4.5 billion of revenue it expects to earn in the current four-year financial cycle. They look with envious eyes at UEFA, who in the same four-year period brought more than £10 billion in revenue.


However, there are many arguments against this continued striving for more and more revenue, especially in Europe where there are already too many fixtures. The fact that it’s the African nations who are most in favour of this reform is telling. They are looking at the riches football generates in Europe and think that they should get a piece of the action. The idea was put forward by the president of the Saudi Arabia football federation Yasser Al Misehal, who suggested it was crucial for the global development of the game, and, of course, the Saudi contribution was immediately endorsed by the Confederation of African Football.


FIFA president Gianni Infantino raised concerns over the financial and sporting inequalities in football on a global basis, and emphasised the dominance of European football. In effect it was a not-so-veiled attacked on UEFA, highlighting that the world’s top 20 clubs are from just five European countries and that World Cups from the semi-finals onwards are dominated by just two confederations – Europe and South America. What he failed to mention was that the vast majority of the monies generated by football via advertising, sponsorship, online and TV subscriptions and attendance revenue originates in Europe, which funds the development of world football as a whole, and by alienating this construct the idea of disrupting EUFA tournaments would have the complete opposite effect of what is intended.


Obviously, rich countries, such as Qatar, can buy tournaments, albeit at a grave human cost, but the rest of the 53 or so African nations who are pushing for changes do not have this cash reserve, and are basically hoping that the proposed changes will bring in money from other countries. In effect, having too many games will devalue football, losing, eventually, the source of such wealth, the fans, who will become very bored with tournaments that no longer have that magic ingredient of achievement. The very sparseness of international tournaments is their main selling point, winning a World Cup is the pinnacle of a footballers, and even a country’s, football aspiration. Just look on how England have dined out on one World Cup win over half a century ago!


Whether the proposal comes in to place is probably a distance off should it get the number of votes necessary once the research has been completed. However, apart from UEFA putting up a resistance to anything that effects its money generating machine, at some point the players themselves will say enough is enough. Currently, top players (and those lower down the leagues) are finding that football is no longer just an August to May season, but extended to a full year, with international fixtures, tour and promotion matches and other representative matches now filling what used to be time for recovery. Will Clubs want to risk their ‘assets’ in such a schedule? Or will they stop releasing players for international duty at some point, which would then devalue the international tournaments. We forget sometimes that our players are actually human beings, not money generating machines, and much more prone to breakdowns than players on FIFA 21 on the Xbox!


As for the fans, the greed of FIFA, UEFA and ‘some’ (you know who you are!) clubs will eventually drive them away, and what then? Without the fans, football is nothing. Keep that in mind Infantino, Čeferin (UEFA President), and the chairmen\owners of ALL football clubs.


Football is ours, not yours.

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