I like the 3 team groups. It means that every group stage match is vital. And an extra round of knockouts rather than group matches is surely better?
FIFA’s interest is in growing world football. Yeah that might be just to make money, but either way that’s their aim. Nothing gets people interested in international sport like their country being represented and being able to support them so I’m for anything to make the top end of the sport more inclusive.
How can you expect people in countries like Jordan to give a shit about football when football to them is a turd league and playing a few other Asian countries once in a while to end up not qualifying for the World Cup because Australia, Korea and Japan are always bigger than them. Even if they put together a decent side, chances are it won’t be decent enough to beat those guys consistently. They’ll never get to play Brazil or Argentina or England unless they can convince them to play a friendly. But under these rules Jordan and maybe Uzbekistan would have been going to their first World Cup in 2014 but they missed their chance and now they might not get close again.
In 2010 Uruguay were a real hit but they only just qualified by 1 point, so we came pretty close to losing Uruguay completely that year. Colombia on the other hand just missed out but they might have made into into a bigger world cup and their squad then had a few of the players that were exciting in 2014 so they might have been a positive influence in 2010 had they been able to compete.
In 60 years of Ballon D’Or over 75% of the winners have been from 8 countries. That can’t be right for the most widespread international sport. This will be a short term change that might be considered negative by people with a European viewpoint but in 50 years moving down this path could change football forever for the better. In Europe we’re really blessed at being able to have a lot of our teams compete at top tournaments every 2 years but other federations have it every 4 years and most of the teams have no hope of qualifying for it.
So yeah, I’m all in favour of FIFA doing whatever they can to get football out there. The World Cup is 5 weeks of football that happens every 4 years. We’ll still get to see the best teams play, but what’s the harm of letting some of the lesser teams have more of a chance to be seen? For more kids to grow up dreaming of playing for their country in the World Cup? Considering the Olympics is full of no-hopers who turn up aiming to finish in the top 60 of mens sprinters and there’s only ever 2 or 3 people actually capable of winning gold yet the event is a big success, I can’t really argue against the same sort of thing happening in football.
It might take 50 years, it might take 100 years but the number of countries able to put out a decent team really needs to increase and I think it can be done. We go into a World Cup now and it’s always Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, France that you look at, with some outsiders having good teams at certain times (England, Chile, Holland, Portugal, Uruguay etc.). But what if in 50 years because of the widespread growth of professional football instead of 6 favourites and 6 maybes, there were 12 favourites and 12 maybes? That would be an awesome World Cup!
I know it seems like a pipedream in 2016 but in 1966 England were champions of the world so it’s clear the football world has changed a lot in the last 50 years so it can change again in the next 50 years. It won’t just be FIFA’s doing, it’ll require changes from individual FAs and maybe outside investment in domestic leagues but football needs to grow around the world. It’s the sport with the lowest barrier to entry and plenty of footballers have become successful after growing up in poverty so it’s not just down to economics. I think football can really boom again and I hope to see it change in my lifetime.
Sorry I waffled so much