Gary Lineker backs Arsene Wenger’s controversial World Cup reform plans

Gary Lineker has come out in support of Arsene Wenger’s controversial plans to reform football’s international match calendar by holding a World Cup every two years

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Gary Lineker has backed Arsene Wenger ’s controversial plans to stage a World Cup every two years in a ‘selfish’ show of support.

Former Arsenal manager Wenger, who is FIFA ’s chief of global football development, claimed earlier in the year that the current schedule for major tournaments needs reviewing.

The Frenchman suggested that the World Cup and European Championships should be played every two years, calling for FIFA to “kick all the rest out” in reference to other international competitions.

The World Cup has been held every four years since its inception in 1930 with the exceptions coming in 1942 and 1946 where no competition was held due to World War Two.

Gary Lineker has backed the controversial plans to reform the World Cup

Similarly, the European Championship had been played every four years since its introduction in 1960 with last year’s postponement of Euro 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the only exception.

The upheaval would see a significant change to football’s schedule and has been met with widespread criticism as it is seen to threaten the history and tradition of the game.

However, former England forward Lineker has come out in support of the controversial claims in what he himself has called a ‘selfish’ stance.

“I might go against the grain here a little bit, in one way I think I would love to see the World Cup every two years, I would genuinely love it,” the current Match of the Day host told talkSPORT. “I hate summers where there is no major tournament, I think it’s boring.

“I think the only reason we think four years is great is because that’s how it has always been. People say maybe it’s better if it’s not played so often, well play it every ten years then – I don’t quite get that argument.

“Realistically, is it going to happen? I rather doubt it. But yes, I’d love to see a World Cup every two years, I’d love to see a European Championship every two years.

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Arsene Wenger believes a World Cup every two years is the way forward

“But that’s just me being selfish because I love big tournaments – I don’t realistically think it will happen.”

Although the 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner expressed his desire to see the change made, he did admit that the proposal for more frequent major tournaments does have its drawbacks.

“However, I think there’s a very big but and that is how you possibly manage the players’ tiredness as you are just pushing them too far,” Lineker added.

France lifted the most recent World Cup in 2018


Getty Images)

“Obviously, they are massively well paid but that’s beside the point because you want the best players playing the best possible football so that would be an issue.”

However, Lineker, who netted 48 times in 80 caps for the Three Lions, did offer his own possible solution to the issues raised by player fatigue and overcrowded schedules.

“My only way around that would possibly be to make sure in terms of qualifying there is way less – say three or four teams,” Linker theorised.

“They are all played in three weeks. They do it in one city which would help in terms of travel nowadays and we’ve got to do better with too many flights in football – it’s a real issue with the environment – then let the clubs have them for the rest of the year.”

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