The plans by world soccer governing body, FIFA to stage the World Cup every two years have suffered a huge setback as fans rejected the idea in a survey. Most fans according to the survey conducted by FIFA favoured the retention of the present quadrennial model. FIFA published a press release which claimed supporters surveyed “favour more frequent men’s World Cups”. But data published by the worldwide governing body, based on a YouGov poll, showed 45 per cent of respondents prefer the World Cup remaining once every four years. FIFA’s claim is only supported by adding together the percentages of fans who believe the World Cup should be staged either every year, biennially or every three years. The number in favour of biennial events was 35 per cent. Maintaining the four-year cycle received the highest percentage of votes from each age category included as part of the poll – 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and over 55.
A total of 15,008 fans from across FIFA’s Confederations responded to the survey, which comes at a time when the organisation is pushing and lobbying for a change that would represent the biggest overhaul to the football calendar in recent memory. The proposal has been met with a critical response from organisations including UEFA, whose President Aleksander Čeferin threatened a European boycott if the plan is approved. The South American Football Confederation, which suggested the idea of biennial World Cups back in 2018, has also signalled its opposition. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach indicated last week that the organisation is not in favour of the plans, which could bring the World Cup into conflict with the Olympic Games.
The Confederation of African Football has declared its support for the idea, while the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football has said it is open to consultation over the proposals The Asian Football Confederation has also expressed support for a consultation, but the South American Football Confederation is against biennial World Cups. Football players’ union FIFPro has also been critical of the proposal and the debate, triggered by Saudi Arabia tabling the suggestion at the FIFA Congress in May. FIFA claimed there would be a feasibility study on the biennial World Cups but there has been little evidence of it being conducted. The organisation last week flew a host of current and former men’s internationals out to Doha for a meeting on the topic, led by FIFA’s chief of global development Arsène Wenger. Every player at the meeting
S/ West Athletics Associations target new Falilat, Fasuba, Aliu, others
Members of South/ West Athletics Associations said they have put in place a blue print to produce more young athletes in the mode of Falilat Ogunkoya, Olusoji Fasuba and Deji Aliu amongst others. In an interactive session with Journalists in Lagos, Chairman of Lagos State Athletics Association Dr. Solomon Alao said they’re going to work in synergy with all the state governments and corporate organizations in the South/ West geopolitical zone of the country to ensure the region regains its leadership position in producing talented athletes for the country. “ We’re all aware that in the past South/ West produced many athletes for the country who won laurels at international competitions and that’s what we want to re- enact,” began Alao who also doubles as South/ West representative on the board of Nigeria Athletics Federation.
“It’s a fact that athletes usually come from the zones before they’re adopted at the national level and that’s why all the athletics associations in the six states of the zone comprising Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo has decided to come together to work out a blue print that will help us in grassroots development of young athletes. “You’re also aware that the South/ West is bigger than countries like Jamaica, Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago whose citizens are making waves in athletics and with proper planning we can surpass them”, he sounded with confidence. In her remarks, ex- Olympian Chief Falilat Ogunkoya (MON) expressed confidence that the plan will achieve its set objectives noting that the zone is blessed with abundant talents waiting to be discovered and nurtured to stardom.
Also speaking at the event, former Team Nigeria Captain and African Long Jump record holder Yusuf Ali said they were encouraged by the noble plans of the present President of Athletics’ Federation of Nigeria Tonibot Okowa to move the sports forward positing that the zone will not fail in its plan of talent discovery. He stated that although the first attempt on the noble idea was hampered because of the COVID- 19 Pandemic, there will be no going back this time around.
Scribe of the association who is also the Chairman of Oyo State Athletics Association Dr. Isaac Ogada described it as a new beginning assuring that all states in the zone are in support of the programme just as he pointed out that there target will is schools and grassroots competitions where talents would be discovered. Veteran Journalist Dare Esan reminded Nigerians that one does not need to travel abroad to become a champion; saying that if a home based Nigerian athletes could qualify for the finals of the 100 meters at the just concluded Tokyo Olympics, talents discovered in the country could as well win gold at the biggest sporting event in the world.