Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski have said they are not keen on FIFA’s plan to hold the World Cup every two years amid growing concerns over player welfare.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said at a “global summit” of leaders of national football federations earlier this month that he believes he has enough votes to increase the frequency of the World Cup from every four years to two.
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There has been opposition from European clubs, the top leagues and European governing body UEFA, whose president Aleksander Ceferin has threatened to boycott any additional tournament.
Speaking at the Globe Soccer Awards on Monday, Mbappe and Lewandowski cast doubts on the idea, saying that adding more matches to the global football calendar would be harmful to players’ wellbeing.
“I’m not a fan. We already have so many games to play every each year, so many tough weeks, not only matches because we have a lot of weeks of preparation whether for the season or for big tournaments,” Lewandowski said.
“If we want to offer something a little different, which breaks the routine, it is also necessary to take breaks.
“If we have a World Cup every two years, the period where footballers will be able to play at a high level will decrease.
“It is physically and psychologically impossible. If you want to last in football, you need resting periods.”
Mbappe backed Lewandowski’s comments, adding that playing the tournament more regularly would change its impact.
“World Cup, every 2 years? I can’t say if it’s right or wrong. It’s something unique that happens every 4 years. Playing it every 2 years would become a normal competition,” he said.
“I agree with Robert, we already play 60 games a year and there are already a lot of competitions. We are happy to play, but when it’s too much it is too much. If you want to have quality you have to allow the players to rest.
“We have to think about the quality and respect the health of the players”
The comments come amid growing concerns over player welfare, causing Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola to warn football governing bodies that a player strike might be required to force action on the issue.
Mbappe won the Best Men’s Player of the Year Award at the Globe Soccer awards in Dubai, while Lewandowski was given the Maradona Award for best goalscorer. The Poland international was also named TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year.