Number one football manager Gianni Infantino did not take on an easy task when he took over from FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Blatter left, with a corrupt image that he had also infected the most popular sport with. Numerous arrests within FIFA resulted from this. Blatter’s supporters were also guilty of blatant self-enrichment.
Infantino has repeatedly hinted that he is looking for more. For example, he had talks about a new format for the World Club Championship; he wanted to involve more countries and more clubs. Other ideas concerned the creation of a League of Nations, but on a global scale. FIFA and UEFA have embarked on a power play in which the European Football Association has been more effective in setting up new competitions. The League of Nations is a good example. Tensions were high between the two presidents of the football superpowers, Gianni Infantino and Aleksander Ceferin.
After lengthy administrative debates on new initiatives, Infantino seems to have focused on organizing a World Cup for countries every two years. In an interview, he recently mentioned the Super Bowl as an example. It is played every year, so why shouldn’t the World Cup be held every two years?
I am an advocate for innovation and modernization where necessary and possible. What’s good for me doesn’t need to be touched unless it makes a big improvement. Forcing new elements into an already successful event can also be harmful. A tournament like the World Cup, which lasts for a month, is not comparable to the Super Bowl, which takes place in one day and is the conclusion of a national club competition. American football is only popular in the United States, in the rest of the world, it doesn’t matter much and a lot of people don’t even know what the Super Bowl is. To me, the Super Bowl is more like the Champions League final – also a battle between two clubs. I stayed awake several times, mostly to see Whitney Houston’s performance. Shortly after, I fell asleep. I appreciate the NBA more.
Working towards a climax for four years is special for athletes and spectators. This period is necessary to create tension and gives supporters time to save for the trip. All kinds of legendary player and national team records would be swept away if the world title was contested every two years and therefore more matches were played. As the frequency of the World Cup increases, the tournament loses its luster. What is the thought behind this? Want to earn more money? More World Cups means more powerful countries have the opportunity to host them: more opportunities, therefore more supporters of the FIFA president.
The World Cup is expected to retain the same status as the Olympics – once every four years. These are the biggest sporting events in the world, and no Super Bowl can match it.
Clarence Seedorf is a former footballer. He is now an entrepreneur, philanthropist and guest speaker.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on October 16, 2021
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of October 16, 2021
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