Four South Asian nations back FIFA’s two-year World Cup push

Berlin, GERMANY: A picture taken 12 May 2006 shows the FIFA World Cup trophy presented to the public in Berlin, as it toured Germany. The trophy, which FIFA commissionned for the 10th World Cup in 1974, is made of solid gold and malachite and was designed by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga. It is 36cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 4,970 grams. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite and has room for 17 small plaques bearing the name of the winners. The winners of the Football World Cup 2006 final match played 09 July in Berlin will retain it until the next tournament, in South Africa, and they will be awarded a gold-plated replica. AFP PHOTO / BARBARA SAX (Photo credit should read BARBARA SAX/AFP/Getty Images)

Governing body FIFA’s proposal to hold the World Cup every two years instead of every four has received support from four football federations in South Asia, who said it would spur development of the game in the region.

In May, FIFA’s congress voted to carry out a feasibility study on holding the World Cup and the women’s World Cup every two years, though proposals to change the established four-year cycle is set to face resistance from European governing body UEFA and the continent’s top clubs.

Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka said in a joint statement that they were among the 166 national federations who voted in favour at the congress.

“Four-year gaps between FIFA World Cup is too great – and the window of opportunity too small – to preclude whole generations of talent,” the federations said.

“Less than a quarter of current AFC member associations have been represented in almost a century of FIFA World Cup finals in a situation where these tournaments are the real drivers of development.”

The Asian Football Confederation is guaranteed four automatic spots and an intercontinental play-off slot in the men’s 2020 World Cup alongside tournament hosts Qatar.