Arsene Wenger ‘ready to take that gamble’ over new international match calendar

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Arsene Wenger says he is “ready to take that gamble” over his proposals to overhaul football’s match calendar “to make the game better”.

The former Arsenal boss has suggested fewer international breaks and staging the World Cup every two years.

In an exclusive interview with BBC podcast The Sports Desk, Wenger said: “The risk is to make football better, and I’m ready to take that gamble.”

He added the current schedule offered “no clarity, no simplicity, no modern way to organise a season”.

Wenger, head of global development for world governing body Fifa, said: “I think if we go on like that we hit the wall.”

He said he would tackle “chaos” and “congestion” in the game.

“What is absolutely detrimental to the players is repeated travelling and jet-lag. With reducing the qualifying period, I believe that the clubs will benefit, the players would benefit.”

According to a survey commissioned by Fifa, a majority of fans favoured holding a men’s World Cup more frequently than every four years – although the most popular response across all age groups was to maintain the status quo.

When asked whether he risked devaluing football’s showpiece tournament by doubling its frequency, Wenger said: “The World Cup is such a huge event that I don’t think it will diminish the prestige. You want to be the best in the world and you want to be the best in the world every year.

“I’m not on an ego trip. I’ve been asked to help to shape the calendar of tomorrow, I consult the whole world.”


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