Pep Guardiola backs Arsene Wenger’s hugely controversial plan to have the World Cup every two years… just weeks after the Manchester City boss discussed his plans to move into international management once his contract expires
- Pep Guardiola is the highest-profile name to back Arsene Wenger’s plans
- The former Arsenal boss wants FIFA to implement the change by 2028
- However, Guardiola did raise the issue of top players’ relentless schedule
- LaLiga’s Javier Tebas and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin oppose the idea
Pep Guardiola has become the highest-profile backer of Arsene Wenger’s hotly debated plan to play a World Cup every two years.
Wenger has proposed a biennial World Cup, staging major tournaments every year, and heavily reducing mid-season international breaks.
The former Arsenal manager expects his ideas to be formalised by FIFA by the new year and hopes to see them implemented by 2028.
Arsene Wenger has proposed having the World Cup every two years effective from 2028
Pep Guardiola has backed the idea – and has recently discussed plans to coach a national team
They have been met with stiff opposition but Wenger on Friday found an ally in Guardiola, who is expected to make a move into international football when his stay at Manchester City ends.
‘You don’t have to criminalise ideas,’ said Guardiola. ‘The World Cup is amazing. As a supporter I enjoy watching and if it is every two years that would be good.
‘I’m in agreement with Arsene in that if it isn’t the World Cup, then it will be another competition.
Guardiola mentioned he would pursue the switch once his Manchester City contract expires
LaLiga chief Javier Tebas sees the plans as ‘a threat to the overall tradition of world football’
‘I’m glad that one person who has done incredible things in world football — not just the Premier League — has put a situation on the table. We are going to talk about the good things and bad things related to it. I’m always glad when ideas are put on the table to discuss.’
Guardiola did, however, appear pessimistic about it earning enough support, claiming self-interest reigns among clubs and governing bodies.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas has already declared Wenger’s plans ‘a threat to the overall tradition of world football’. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin talked of potential boycotts.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has suggested that European sides could stage a boycott
Guardiola added: ‘The clubs and the leagues defend their position, FIFA defend theirs and UEFA defend theirs. That’s why when we talk about global football ideas it is ridiculous because everyone just looks after themselves.
‘Top players only have two weeks off — not three months for regeneration physically and mentally. During the season, 11 months, it is games, games, games. If we don’t play the World Cup, they’ll just create another tournament.’
PFA chief Maheta Molango echoed concerns about his players’ welfare, saying the current amount of globe-trotting for games was unsustainable and ‘harming the football product’.
But he is not convinced that Wenger’s plan is the answer, adding: ‘What makes the World Cup so special is you play every four years. It comes to a stage where you have so many games you are no longer looking forward to anything.’