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The FIFA World Cup trophy and the official 2022 World Cup ball called Al-Rihla are seen on stage during the draw. Photo: AFP/Karim Jaffar

A biennial World Cup would earn an additional $4.4 billion in revenue

Delegates at FIFA’s worldwide summit were told that a biannual World Cup would earn more than $4.4 billion in income over a four-year cycle. 

As the international tournament schedules for women’s and men’s football expire in 2023 and 2024, respectively, the world football’s governing body wants to organise a World Cup every two years instead of four. CONMEBOL, the governing body of South American football, and UEFA, which is promoting an enlarged Champions League structure, are both opposed to FIFA’s ideas, however the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has endorsed them. 

The financial forecasts, FIFA stated on Monday, are based on two independent feasibility assessments that were presented during an online conference attended by 207 of the 210 qualified member countries. FIFA claimed member associations will get an average of $16 million in additional funds, citing Nielson data, though it did not specify how the monies would be allocated. 

A second research by OpenEconomics found that moving the men’s world cup to a biannual cycle would increase GDP by more than $180 billion and generate two million full-time employment over a 16-year timeframe. In a statement, FIFA President Gianni Infantino stated, “Our intention is to help ‘bridge the gap’ between FIFA member associations and to give as many of them a more realistic chance of playing on the global stage.” 

Due to losses from broadcast rights tickets and sponsorships, UEFA issued its own study, predicting that earnings for European national associations might decline between €2.5 and €3 billion during a four-year cycle. The study, performed by the consultancy company Oliver & Ohlbaum, warns of the new schedule’s physical and emotional toll on players. 

Women’s football, according to UEFA, would suffer detrimental consequences in terms of exposure, fan and media interest. 

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