Gary Neville’s concerns with Wenger’s World Cup proposal

Neville Solskjaer text

Neville’s thoughts on adding more World Cups

Following the recent proposal by Arsene Wenger to make the World Cup a bi-annual event, Gary Neville has expressed his concerns.

Speaking on a new episode of The Overlap, he also explained how it should happen if it does.

He said: “The problem is with these things is that at the moment football fans and pundits don’t trust the football organisations, that they think everything’s about money”

A big issue for Neville with the current situation is that there is a serious lack of trust in football at the moment. Considering the recent Super League fiasco as well as widespread scandals in football organisations, Neville is concerned that any new proposal is tarnished with a degree of distrust.

“I just think at the moment it’s difficult for any organisation to sell a new format because there is no trust between fans, pundits, media, players and the association.”

Where it could work

The area in which he surprisingly doesn’t disagree with the proposal is the addition of another tournament. Neville thinks that with other priorities for clubs, the players tend not to have this time off anyway.

“You go to a World Cup and you go to European Championship and they are great experiences in your life. Then you have the summers in between where you don’t have The World Cup and The Euros and you end up playing two or three games in the middle of June, you end up only getting three or four weeks rest and then you’re going over to Asia on a three-week tour.”

“There’s an element of can they deliver a World Cup every two years, can they deliver a European Championship every two years. Maybe if they thought about where that extra money went and they sold it in a way that was palatable to fans and players, where they built in the right amount of rest for players, that they coordinate the calendar so there isn’t the African Nations in January, they do have a coordinated calendar across leagues across the world…it could be palatable”

“The football calendar is a bit of a mess let’s be clear. It’s a mess. I don’t think the players are happy, I don’t think the fans are happy, I don’t think the associations are happy. UEFA aren’t happy, FIFA aren’t happy. So if they thought about it and rather than do it in isolation, selfishly, and said ‘What do the leagues want?’ ‘What do the fans want?’ ‘What do the players want?’ ‘What do national teams want?’ ‘Can we all come together to come up with a better deal for football?’ It could be palatable.”

So while calendar congestion and poor inter-organisational relationships are the issues that Neville believes need to be solved in order to make the additional World Cups a possibility, fixing them could already be in the best interest of football for everyone. Should these issues be ironed out, Neville believes that the proposal could be possible.

The real issue

Potential greed or a lack of cooperation is the hill this proposal could die on, however, should things continue the way they are.

“I’m not against it on that front. I’m against it when each organisation does it in isolation, says we want this and UEFA say we want a European Championship every two years and the clubs say we want our three-week tours to Asia, to America to build our fanbases, the players and the coaches say we don’t want those games, say it’s costing us too much money and before you know it you have a game that hasn’t been coordinated properly and a plan and a strategy that’s just a mess and that’s the problem with football. It’s just too disconnected.”

“I’m not against it but it’s not just that that needs sorting. It needs a deal for everybody that means that if there’s an extra billion pounds in profit from an extra world cup, well, where does that go?

Combatting these issues would be the bigger task with the state of corruption/perceived corruption in football at the moment and that’s why Neville believes that the timing is wrong.

“FIFA’s come out of the biggest corruption scandal of all time, UEFA’s come out of the biggest corruption scandal of all time, no one trusts the big clubs in the premier league because of what they’ve done so to bring new formats forward today, at this time, is just the wrong time because there’s just no trust.”

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