Malawi and 166 Fifa members have voted in favour of a proposal to turn the men’s football World Cup and the women’s World Cup into biennial tournaments.
The two competitions are currently held every four years but the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (Saff) put forward a proposal for a switch to start holding the events every two years.
Said Saff president Yasser Al-Misehal at the 71st Fifa Assemblyheld on Friday: “We believe the future of football is at a critical juncture. The many issues that football has faced have now been further exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
“It is time to review how the global game is structured and to consider what is best for the future of our sport. This should include whether the current four-year cycle remains the optimum basis for how football is managed both from a competition and commercial perspective.”
The assembly adopted the proposal after 166 national federations, including Malawi voted in favour and 22 voted against.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu confirmed the development, saying there is need to look at the advantages and the disadvantages of having the competitions every two years.
“The proposal was accepted by the general assembly which means that Fifa will conduct a feasibility study and report back. We need to consider the merits and demerits of the proposal and the study will be able to unravel these aspects.”
Fifa has since announced the start of the feasibility study.
But soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said while turning the World Cup into a biennial event will increase teams’ chances of making it to the finals because of the increase in the frequency, it could also lead to the cramming up of the calendar.
He said: “If you look at the calendar now, there is World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon], Africa Nations Championships [Chan] and Confederation of African Football [CAF] club competitions qualifiers which are held over a year.
“Afcon and Chan are already biennial competitions while the club competitions are held every year. Now if Fifa decided to turn the World Cup into a biannual event, how will they work out the calendar?”
Another football analyst Kelvin Moyo said the move will lead to burn-out on the part of players.
He said: “Pure greed on the part of the world football governing body; nothing different from the proposed European Super League where money is the primary objective.
“I feel these are effects of countering economic effects of Covid-19. I feel there is too much football already if you consider league and continental competitions. It will be difficult for both players and organisers of sporting events.There is just much on the table.”
Malawi qualifed for Afcon finals and World Cup group stage.