World Cup may become biennial

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The Independent Online
THE PRESIDENT of football's world governing body announced a revolutionary plan to stage the World Cup every two years yesterday.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa supremo, said the current format, with the World Cup played every four years, is out of date and threatened by a proposed European club superleague.

The controversial proposal, if approved, would stem the growing power of Uefa, Europe's governing body, and enable Fifa to cash in on one of the biggest money-makers in sport.

Blatter said: "I want a football world championship every two years. Then the national teams will get the rankings they deserve. The existing four-yearly tournament is out of date. It dates from the 1930s when teams chugged from one continent to another on ships."

But Sir Bobby Charlton, an England World Cup winner, condemned the plan and said a move to a biennial tournament would be "very sad". He added: "Every four years is often enough because it's something to look forward to."

Blatter's plan would see qualification for the finals taking place in odd-numbered years. The European Championship would have to be scrapped and perhaps become a qualifying competition.

However, any changes could not come into force before 2006 - when England are bidding to stage the World Cup.

New world order, Page 23