Women's leagues slam FIFA's 'profoundly detrimental' World Cup plan

Women’s Super League join forces with 10 rival European leagues to hit back at FIFA over their ‘profoundly detrimental’ proposal to hold a men’s World Cup every two years

  • FIFA’s proposed plan to hold the World Cup more often isn’t being well received 
  • Teams from 10 European women’s league have hit back at the proposal this week
  • Statement calls on FIFA to engage in a ‘genuine, joint and open forum’ about it

Staging the men’s and women’s World Cups every two years will have a ‘profoundly detrimental’ on the women’s game, according to a statement from 10 European women’s leagues.

FIFA is proposing to shorten the gap between the showpiece events from four years to two as part of changes to the new international calendar from 2024 onwards.

The statement issued on Monday, which includes the Women’s Super League and Championship among its signatories, calls on FIFA to engage in a ‘genuine, joint and open forum’ with women’s football stakeholders. It is also signed by European football’s governing body UEFA and the European Club Association.

FIFA is proposing to shorten the gap between the showpiece events from four years to two

‘The proposed plans by FIFA to stage both the men’s and women’s World Cup tournaments every two years will have profoundly detrimental sporting, economic, societal and many other impacts that will fundamentally alter the course and development of the women’s game,’ the statement began.

‘The fast-paced nature of the (so far) very selective consultation process and all-but agreed proposals have not allowed a careful reflection on what is in the best interests of the future development of women’s football or adequately assessed the possible irreversible consequences such a change might entail.’

Former United States coach Jill Ellis is leading a technical advisory group working on proposals for the women’s calendar, alongside a similar group overseen by ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looking at the men’s game.

Less has been seen of Ellis’ proposals, though from Wenger’s plans it is clear the Women’s World Cup would have to take place in the same summer as a major men’s tournament.

The Olympic Games, arguably the second-biggest national team event in women’s football, would also clash with a World Cup every time it was staged under FIFA’s plan.

It is understood FIFA is considering staging a Women’s World Cup in July or August, after a men’s tournament in June.

The statement from the leagues, UEFA and ECA set out a list of problems it felt the proposals would create, including adding further congestion to an already crowded women’s calendar and a lowering of sponsorship investment due to a saturation of the market.

Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga are among the 10 to have put their name to the statement

They also felt the additional men’s competitions would hamper the visibility of the women’s game, and disrupt the evolving fan culture around it.

‘Further development of the game we all love can only truly come about when we discuss together, at the same table, and with all those impacted by such a major decision,’ the statement added.

‘It is a delicate equilibrium which must show respect and responsibility across a spectrum of competitions, players, coaches, fans, nations and culture.’

As well as the premier English competitions, the statement was signed by the Danish Kvindeliga, Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga, the Finnish Kansallinen Liiga, Serie A Femmenile of Italy, Holland’s Eredivisie Vrouwen, Liga 1 Feminin (Romania), Sweden’s Elitfotboll Dam and the Swiss Women’s Super League.

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