Wenger explains why there will be more winter World Cups after historic tournament in Qatar
- Tournament held in Middle East for the first time
- Plans to head for Africa again at some stage
- Talks of biennial event put on hold for now
WHAT HAPPENED? History has been made in 2022, with a World Cup being staged in the middle of the European domestic season for the first time while also heading to the Middle East in Qatar. The competition is considered to have been a success, with plenty of shocks keeping a worldwide audience entertained, and Wenger says supporters and players should get used to such a schedule as plans are drawn up for future tournaments.
WHAT THEY SAID: Wenger has told L’Equipe: “If we want to democratise football, we will have to go to African countries where it is impossible to play a World Cup in the summer. We can see it with this edition in Qatar, a World Cup in the winter works. Of course, many players did not have the usual time to prepare physically but at least they all approached this competition with real mental freshness, which has not always been the case in the past. I remember teams starting a World Cup psychologically tired because their preparation period had gone badly.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Wenger has previously suggested that the World Cup should be held every two years but now concedes – after attracting fierce opposition to that proposal – that such a radical change to the international calendar would not work. He added: “I had been asked to think about it and I thought it was not a bad idea. But such a change would have required a complete review of the qualifying calendar. We are not heading towards that today, but rather towards four-year cycles alternating with a World Cup, the Women’s World Cup – which is becoming more and more important – and the Euros.”
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WHAT NEXT? The next World Cup will take place in 2026 – when FIFA’s flagship event is co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico – while there will be another European Championship before that in 2024 which will be staged on German soil.