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Guardiola welcomes proposal to stage World Cup every two years

premier league manchester city v arsenal
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola believes a World Cup every two years could be good for the game and would welcome a fair debate over the issue.

FIFA’s head of global development Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, has put forward proposals to hold the global showpiece biennially.

The plans have been met with strong opposition in some quarters, with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin suggesting European countries could boycott the tournament if they were approved.

European Leagues, a group which includes the Premier League and the EFL, has said its members “firmly and unanimously” oppose the idea.

Manchester City manager Guardiola does not think the proposition should be rejected out of hand, however, and would like to hear all points of view. He feels holding a World Cup would be a better alternative to other potential new competitions that could fill the calendar.

“Always I’m glad when new ideas are put on the table to discuss,” Guardiola said. “You don’t have to criminalise ideas.

“The clubs and the leagues defend their position, FIFA defend theirs and UEFA defend theirs.

“That’s why when we talk about global football ideas it is ridiculous because everyone just looks after themselves.

“The World Cup is amazing. It is the biggest tournament and, as a spectator, I always enjoy watching it. If I could watch it every two years that would be good.

“I’m completely in agreement with Arsene Wenger in that if it isn’t the World Cup then it will be another competition – the Confederations Cup or create a new tournament. What I have seen Arsene has proposed is a tournament of the biggest quality.

“I’m glad that one person who has done incredible things in world football – not just the Premier League – has put the situation on the table. We are going to talk about the good things and bad things related to it.”

Guardiola’s chief reservation about the proposals would be the extra burden on players.

He feels they are already being asked to play too much and changes need to be made.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said: “The only reality is that the top players only have two weeks off, not three months for regeneration physically and mentally. It is just two or three weeks off.

“During 11 months it is games, games, games. Before, pre-season was four or five weeks. Now we have 10 days.

“We want to play football and enjoy it, but we have to reduce it. It’s too much.

“I’m not saying you have to eliminate national teams, or the Champions League, or the Premier League, or all the cups, but we have to find a solution.”

Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo has also expressed similar concerns.

“Each time a decision is made it is more games, more games,” the Portuguese said. “I don’t know if the players will be able to sustain their level of performance with so many games through all these seasons.

“It is my worry and my biggest concern. But I don’t have a clear view on what is best for the game.”

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