Arsene Wenger’s two-year World Cup plan could turn tournament into ‘social media channel’, says Lahm

Germany World Cup winner Philipp Lahm warns the tournament would become ‘like a social media channel’ if Arsene Wenger gets his way and FIFA host the event every two years

  • Philpp Lahm captained Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil in 2014
  • Now, Lahm is a tournament director with Germany hosting the 2024 Euros 
  • But the Germany legend is strongly opposed to a biennial World Cup 











Germany legend Philipp Lahm, a 2014 World Cup winner and a tournament director of Euro 2024, has blasted FIFA’s plans to host a World Cup every two years.

Germany is the host nation for the next European Championship but Europe’s continental tournament faces a potentially complicated future beyond that date as FIFA reviews the World Cup’s format.

Arsene Wenger, who is FIFA’s chief of global football development, is in favour of a more regular World Cup but Lahm is the latest voice to come out in opposition to the proposal.

Germany legend Philipp Lahm has spoken out against plans for a World Cup every two years

Lahm is a World Cup winner - he captained Germany to glory at the 2014 tournament in Brazil

Lahm is a World Cup winner – he captained Germany to glory at the 2014 tournament in Brazil

‘Shortening the World Cup cycle would give the impression that football is all about money,’ Lahm told The Guardian. 

‘And major sporting events need patience and time. That is crucial for their sustainability… Too much football would, not least, hit the social added-value of football.’

Lahm also warned that fans would lose out if a World Cup, and even a European Championship, was held every two years because the sense of occasion would be tarnished by their frequency.

‘Major tournaments are anchored in their memories; they shape many a biography. The Greeks were allowed to call themselves European champions for four years, from 2004 to 2008, the Portuguese for five, the Spanish for eight. 

‘From 2014 to 2018, Germany were No 1 in the world. Accelerating the cycle would make many experiences and memories interchangeable. 

‘An annual tournament would be like an additional social media channel on your phone or another streaming app.’

Lahm captained Germany to their 2014 World Cup glory. They defeated Argentina 1-0 in the final but perhaps just as notably thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final stage at the Maracana. 

Arsene Wenger and Gianni Infantino are spearheading proposals for a biennial World Cup

Arsene Wenger and Gianni Infantino are spearheading proposals for a biennial World Cup

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has spoken warmly of the idea of more World Cups

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has spoken warmly of the idea of more World Cups

England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has spoken out against the proposals because of how congested the footballing calendar already is. 

Sportsmail reported on Monday that England manager Gareth Southgate has not taken up an invitation to discuss the idea with Wenger, either.

Wenger said: ‘As a coach of the men’s national teams, their input is essential.

‘Opportunities for us to come together are few and far between, but we must embrace these occasions as such dialogue helps us all to protect the unique place that football has in the world and to make it truly global.’

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has spoken warmly of the plan, saying: ‘You don’t have to criminalise ideas.

‘The World Cup is amazing. As a supporter I enjoy watching, and if it is every two years that would be good.’

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, has underlined his caution at the impact the calendar has on players.

‘There’s no other sport in the world with such a relentless calendar. We all know why it’s happening. Whatever people say that it’s about giving different countries opportunities, in the end it’s all about money,’ Klopp said.

‘That’s fine. But in the end, at one point somebody has to start understanding that without the players – the most important ingredients of this wonderful game – we cannot play it.’

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