FIFA president claims biennial World Cup would stop 'Africans crossing Mediterranean sea'
Gianni Infantino made a controversial claim whilst supporting his bid for a biennial World Cup
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has made a controversial claim that making changes to the international football calendar would 'stop Africans from crossing the Mediterranean Sea.'
Infantino was speaking at the Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg where he once again reiterated his desire to reform the footballing calendar - including the idea of hosting a World Cup every two years.
However, the head of the world footballing governing body made a rather controversial statement to support his idea, claiming that a biennial World Cup would help to save the lives of African migrants.
"We need to give hope to Africans so they don't need to cross the Mediterranean in order to find, maybe, a better life but more probably death in the sea," he said.
"We need to give opportunities and we need to give dignity, not by giving charity but by allowing the rest of the world to participate."
Infantino has actively supported the idea of hosting a World Cup every two years, but is in the minority with UEFA, and the Council are among many who have rejected the proposal.
The Council even added that plans to make the World Cup biennial would be "disastrous" for the sport in Europe.
A spokesperson said: "The Assembly questions the advisability of the plan currently under consideration by FIFA to hold the World Cup every two years.
"It considers that such a change would have disastrous consequences for European football, which is why both UEFA and the European Leagues are strongly opposed to the project.
"It could also harm the entire sports ecosystem by making the two main global sporting events - the World Cup and the Olympic Games - compete for media coverage and therefore also financial support."
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