A key FIFA sponsor has joined chorus to oppose the proposal of staging the World Cup every two years. The decision has not gone down well with the official ball supplier to the world governing body for football.
According to the Swiss publication Neue Zürcher Zeitung Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rørsted has opposed the FIFA plans to stage the World Cup, the biggest sporting event after the Olympics, every alternate year. The World Cup so far is being staged every four years.
FIFA’s plan to double the frequency of the World Cup has drawn a rebuke from one of the tournament’s most important sponsors.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rørsted has told Neue Zürcher Zeitung that a biennial tournament would over crowd the football and sports landscape.
“There’s a European Championship here, there’s a Copa América in Latin America. One should also leave space for other things,” he said, echoing concerns from UEFA, CONMEBOL, and the European Club Association.
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Kasper Rørsted further added that other sports such as biathlon, skiing, tennis, and handball should also get TV time. “If you push just one product heavily, it is not good for any product,” said Rørsted.
His remarks carry weight, as Adidas has been the official supplier of soccer balls for the FIFA World Cup since 1970. Back in 2013, Adidas and FIFA extended their partnership to 2030.
Adidas’ net income grew 150.6% year-over-year to $458 million in Q2 2018 in the middle of the last World Cup. It posted $756.9 million in net income the following quarter, up 25.1% year-over-year.
The World Cup is coming to the USA in 2026.
Adidas’ sales in North America grew 87% year-over-year in the second quarter of this year to $1.44 billion. Rørsted felt similarly about the attempted European Super League, saying it would have been good for the company’s sales but bad for the long-term health of soccer.
FRENCH FOOTBALL LEAGUE OPPOSES FIFA PLAN
Meanwhile, the French football league’s board adopted a motion on Wednesday to oppose plans to play the men’s World Cup every two years, arguing that the tournament is a world heritage that should not be “trivialized” and that such a move would disrupt calendars.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has pushed for a biennial World Cup to give more playing and hosting opportunities to countries that rarely or never qualify. He already oversaw expanding from 32 teams to a 48-nation tournament for the 2026 edition across North America.
The next addition of the FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Oman. The World Cup will return to Asia after 20 years since Japan and South Korea had hosted the prestigious event in 2002.
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