Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Local voices dismiss biennial World Cup idea

Published:Friday | September 17, 2021 | 12:09 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
United States forward Gyasi Zardes (centre) and Jamaica’s Oniel Fisher (right) chase after a loose ball in the second half of a Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal match in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, July 25.
United States forward Gyasi Zardes (centre) and Jamaica’s Oniel Fisher (right) chase after a loose ball in the second half of a Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinal match in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, July 25.
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Harbour View General Manager Clyde Jureidini and Kingston and St Andrew Football Association President Wayne Shaw say that a biennial FIFA World Cup would not benefit Jamaica or solve the issues of the modern international window. Concacaf recently...

Harbour View General Manager Clyde Jureidini and Kingston and St Andrew Football Association President Wayne Shaw say that a biennial FIFA World Cup would not benefit Jamaica or solve the issues of the modern international window.

Concacaf recently announced that it is open to further dialogue regarding FIFA’s proposal to shorten the World Cup cycle for both the men’s and women’s game to every two years following the completion of the 2026 cycle. The initiative has been met by criticism and pushback by the European (UEFA) and South American (CONMEBOL) federations.

Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts previously said that Jamaica would benefit in an increase in the number of games in the region. Caribbean Football Union president Randy Harris echoed similar sentiments.

However, Jureidini says that with the recent inclusion of the Concacaf Nations League to increase competitive games among countries in the region, in addition to their club responsibilities, a biennial tournament would lessen the prestige that it brings.

‘NOT GOING TO WORK’

“To have a World Cup every two years is not going to work out,” Jureidini told The Gleaner. “The bigger countries, the better countries, have a national tournament annually and they have a cluttered calendar of events that the four-year span of the World Cup is even under strain now to repeat. To have one every two years is almost meaningless.”

Concacaf said on Monday that it appreciated the parts of the proposal that include the reduction of the international window as well as a better framework for developing the game worldwide.

“Our initial analysis is that we recognise the merits of creating entirely new international men’s women’s and youth football calendars which are underpinned by fewer international windows, reduced travel for players, friendlies being replaced by meaningful matches, and a more balanced structure for the overall benefit of football development globally,” Concacaf’s statement read. “We will continue to look at these proposals constructively with an open mind and in the spirit of positive engagement.”

However, Shaw’s main issue is the burnout that players may have regarding the number of games they may have to play in a short space of time combined with their club commitments and the repercussions that it will have for the other continental tournaments.

“If they were to do that, how are they going to work out the Europa League?” Shaw asked. “What about the South American (Copa América) and the Gold Cup and those leagues which you are going to do every two years? It’s going to be too congested.”

Part of the proposal is that for the continental tournaments to be played in odd years, however, the current format of the Gold Cup, Concacaf’s regional competition, is two years.

Jureidini says that staying the course of competitions such as the Nations League and keeping the current World Cup timeline would be more productive for developing the game regionally.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com