FIFA president Infantino says biennial World Cup will help smaller nations

Singapore – FIFA President Gianni Infantino has stressed that the proposal to hold the World Cup every two years could be a game-changer for smaller countries like Singapore.

Arriving in Singapore on Sunday, Infantino made his way to Jalan Besar Stadium – the home of Singaporean football – to witness its reopening, which also included the installation of a new synthetic playing surface. The upgrade, which cost US$2.5 million, is with the help of FIFA Forward.

The opening coincided with ongoing efforts by FIFA to provide more detailed blueprints around the “Unleash the Roar” project, designed to improve football at all levels in Singapore with the goal of qualifying for the 2034 World Cup.

By then, a country like Singapore’s prospects had already been helped by an increase in the number of competing teams – with FIFA set to expand the tournament to 48 teams from currently 32 in the 2026 edition.

But Infantino believes that holding the competition every two years, rather than the current four years between tournaments, would help more.

He said when asked by ESPN what the change might mean for smaller countries like Singapore.

“It’s not really a ‘World Cup’. It’s a cup of the best teams, which have historically been the best teams in Europe and South America. The chance of others participating is very low. Of course, increasing the number of teams may change that a little bit but nevertheless, when you have to wait for a while Four years, that’s a very long time.

“This is a dream for Singapore, to have a chance – a realistic opportunity – to play the best in the world.”

Later Sunday evening, Infantino was also present at the AFF’s 2020 Suzuki Cup Opening Ceremony.

Despite its status as the premier international tournament in Southeast Asia, the Suzuki Cup has not boasted the best players because it does not fall under the FIFA international window – meaning that clubs are not obligated to release players who have been called up.

While the addition of international windows is likely to cause more panic in club football, Infantino believes a different approach could be taken.

“Instead of more international windows, we should build them on taller windows,” he added.

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