The President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation and FIFA Council member, Fouzi Lekjaa, is a strong supporter of the project of a World Cup every two years. In this interview, he explains his choice and lists the many benefits it would bring to the African continent.
Le360 Sports: During the 71st Congress of FIFA, held on 21st of May 2021, you have supporter the idea of organizing a World Cup every two years. Why?
“A World Cup played every two years instead of four will give African teams more chances to improve by competing more often with the best. This change will also offer many more opportunities for African talents to develop and shine at the world stage. Only eight teams have won the World Cup. And most part of the participants are always the same. We need to make the World Cup a much more inclusive competition not only with the already approved increase of teams but also with an increase in the frequency.”
How will that affect the Morocco national team?
“Morocco is a great nation of football and in almost 100 years of world cups we only participated in the tournament in five occasions. This is not only due to the extremely difficult qualifying but essentially because of the periodicity of the competition.”
But this won’t make the World Cup lose its appeal?
“A great competition is forged by the quality and meaning of it not because is rare. We have great competitions in all sports, including football, played every year and every two years (like the AFCON) and they don’t lose interest, nor the fans lose appetite for them. The World Cup will keep being an amazing competition while at the same time being more democratic and giving less developed nations an opportunity to participate and get better.”
We heard one or two voices, namely from UEFA, saying they were against this idea. What do you think about it?
“I have to say I was extremely disappointed with some reactions on this matter. The international match calendar is not decided after 2024 so people should sit down and talk about the best solutions for everyone not just for those who enjoy all privileges, who have all the resources and look at Africa and other continents as second-class people that they have to put up with. It’s easy to make headlines and campaigns against racism and discrimination but what Africa wants is concrete actions and good will, not arrogant, dictatorial, and discriminatory positions while refusing to debate ideas. One more month every four years. We are not asking for something unrealistic. The ones who are against the World Cup every two years are in fact egotists because they are discriminating millions of people just to protect they own commercial interests. They should support the possibility to give hope to hundreds of million of people of our continent.”
Do you think some federations can prevent this project from going ahead?
“FIFA is nowadays a democratic organization and Europe shows us the importance of respecting the opinion of the majority in a true democratic spirit. We hope that everyone in Europe respects democracy. Fortunately, there are a lot of European people and Federations who support the idea.”
This idea has been defended by one of the most experienced coaches in Europe…
“Arsène Wenger is someone who thinks about football for decades, not only inside the pitch. He has been doing an analysis and studying how football is becoming more and more unbalanced and how people who are not born in certain privileged parts of the world don’t have the same chances of others. It’s irrational and absurd to criticize his proposal without even reflecting on what is happening and on ways to stop and reverse this tendency. To play the World Cup every two years won’t be the miracle solution to everything that is wrong, but it can certainly be a positive contribution.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Le360 Sport.