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FIFA promises new funds for member federations under biennial World Cup plan

FIFA on Monday vowed to hand over an extra $19 million every four years to each of its 211 member federations if world football’s governing body succeeds in its attempts to hold the World Cup as a biennial event.

The body on Monday held a virtual global summit to discuss its highly controversial plans to stage the World Cup every two years instead of the current four-year cycle, as part of a new international match calendar for the period beyond 2024.

Its economic arguments had not previously been explicitly stated, but FIFA will hope the numbers can at least persuade smaller nations to get behind the plans.

If the World Cup is held every two years, an independent report by market researchers at Nielsen estimated that approximately $4.4 billion of additional revenues would be generated over four years.

The report also suggested that income from gate receipts, media rights and sponsorship for a 48-team tournament — as the World Cup is set to become from 2026 — could increase from seven billion dollars to $11.4 billion, a rise of more than 60 percent.

By creating a “Solidarity Fund” of some $3.5 billion in the first four years of the reformed calendar, FIFA estimates it could allocate “around $16 million” to every federation over that period, it said.

In addition to that, FIFA also plans to increase funding via its FIFA Forward programme by three million dollars from the current six million dollars to nine million.

A report commissioned by European football’s governing body UEFA recently estimated a shortfall of between 2.5 and three billion euros ($2.8 to 3.4 billion) over four years for European federations if FIFA adopts its controversial plan.

Meanwhile, the World Leagues Forum, which represents 42 member leagues across the globe, estimated that domestic competitions stood to lose a combined $8.5 billion if FIFA gets its way.

According to an independent report by Open Economics, shared by FIFA, “historical revenue trends of the most relevant clubs and national teams final tournaments show no apparent rivalry between the two”.

However, that report did not advance any figures.

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