Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, FIFA has made major waves in the international soccer landscape by revealing a plan to hold the World Cup biennially, which would make the tournament an every two-year affair instead of every four. However, FIFA's plan is not without opposition, including from another international sports organization.
In a statement released on Saturday, the International Olympic Committee announced that they support the calls for a "wider consultation" into FIFA's biennial World Cup plan, citing reservations and concerns stemming from three major factors.
The IOC argued that the increased frequency and timing of the World Cup would "would undermine the diversity and development of sports other than football", namely multiple Olympic sports like tennis, cycling, golf, and gymnastics as well as Formula 1 racing. The IOC also suggested that the increase in men's soccer events would create gender equality challenges in further promoting women's soccer, as well as the physical and mental health strain on players of more frequent World Cups.
"The IOC shares these concerns and supports the calls of stakeholders of football, International Sports Federations and major event organisers for a wider consultation, including with athletes' representatives, which has obviously not taken place," read part of the statement by the organization.
FIFA's biennial plan has become a major point of contention not only with other sports organizations, but with soccer clubs and federations as well. According to an Associated Press report, the European Club Association has criticized FIFA for a lack of engagement on the new international match calendar from 2024, lambasting FIFA's launch of PR campaigns related to the plan as "apparently seeking to railroad through reforms to the IMC, particularly the introduction of a biennial World Cup."
Plans to double the frequency of the World Cup have been gaining momentum since May, when Saudi Arabia's federation proposed at FIFA's congress to explore biennial World Cups.