That Wenger and FIFA haven’t but been in a position to present a convincing riposte to these points — past declaring that extra international locations would have the ability to qualify for the World Cup, which is the type of factor which will properly show to be unfaithful in apply, irrespective of how a lot sense it makes in idea — is a disgrace, as a result of his proposal isn’t with out worth. The Huge Concept could also be riddled with flaws, however the small concepts that help it are value contemplating.
Wenger desires to cut back participant fatigue and soccer’s carbon imprint, in addition to impose order on soccer’s archaic calendar, by streamlining the qualification course of: Moderately than a sequence of transient worldwide home windows, he would like both one, or two, longer ones per season. (After they would fall isn’t determined, however secure to say that taking a month off in October, simply after Europe’s season has began, ought to actually be a gap gambit at greatest). That could be a Good Concept, one which deserves capitalizing.
So, too, the considered a secondary world competitors — a type of Europa League World Cup — to run alongside the primary event, providing smaller nations a viable goal, isn’t with out advantage. Soccer followers are naturally conservative, however it could be self-defeating to spurn any notion of change by any means.
Sadly, although, the potential advantages almost certainly will probably be misplaced, both as a result of the entire plan is vetoed — UEFA, its nostril tweaked by the sense that FIFA is solely bulldozing its imaginative and prescient via, has already vowed to fight it — or as a result of they characterize small victories in a convincing, general defeat.
There’s a unhappiness in that, as a result of there are many ways in which soccer’s format is likely to be modified for the higher, and that is the possibility to do it. There’s a motive that every one of those Huge Concepts maintain rising: In 2024, the sport’s calendar successfully resets and, till it does, each choice is successfully in play. This is a chance for change, the progressive and optimistic kind, if solely the entire events may resist the temptation to assert territory and examine nurturing fertile floor as a substitute.
It shouldn’t be past the wit of soccer, for instance, to maintain Wenger’s concepts for a condensed qualification course of and (roughly) contemporaneous continental tournaments, however abandon a biennial World Cup, with all its drawbacks.