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FIFPRO Global Player Survey: 75 percent of men's players want to keep World Cup every four years

Competition Design Statement
15 February 2022
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Seventy-five percent of men’s professional footballers want to keep the FIFA World Cup every four years, according to a survey of more than 1,000 players organized by FIFPRO and national player unions about workload and competition formats.

In one of the other key findings of the survey, most players rank the World Cup and their domestic league as their favourite competitions.

FIFPRO and its domestic member unions surveyed men’s players in November following a proposal by FIFA to switch the World Cup to a biennial format. When the proposal was first mooted, FIFPRO said that any plans to change the match schedule must have the agreement of players and began a process to canvas their opinion as part of a wider consultation on workload in the men’s game.

The survey gathered the opinions of players from six continents, including over 70 different nationalities.

Regional breakdown of survey regarding World Cup frequency:

  • 77% of players from both Europe and Asia prefer a World Cup every four years
  • 63% from the Americas said they favour the tournament every four years
  • 49% of players in Africa prefer a World Cup every four years, with the remainder split between a two or three-year cycle.

While a clear majority of players support the current frequency of the World Cup, a demand exists, particularly in smaller and medium-sized markets, to further develop and strengthen national team competitions. This is in line with FIFPRO’s position on encouraging investment into regional competitions, based on the requirements of the local market. 

Key finding of the survey regarding competition preferences:

  • 81% of players rank either their domestic league or the World Cup, in its current four-year cycle, as their favourite competition.

Domestic leagues are among the leading competitions in the eyes of players, underlining the importance of protecting and strengthening these championships. However, it is also clearly apparent that the value which players attribute to international club and national team football remains significant. The World Cup every four years ranks consistently high in the preferences of players across different countries.

FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said: “The player survey shows most footballers around the world have a clear preference to play the World Cup every four years. At the same time, the results demonstrate the importance of domestic league competitions to players. These leagues are the bedrock of our game and we have to do more to strengthen them both for the sake of players and the overall stability of professional football.

“Another key finding from players is that only 21 percent of them believe that their voice is respected and that their well-being is adequately considered in the context of international football governance. Therefore, this survey underlines the need for more collective bargaining frameworks in our industry, especially at the international level. ”

Further results from the player survey relating to workload, and rest and recovery, will be released in the coming weeks as part of the latest FIFPRO Player Workload Monitoring men’s football report in conjunction with KPMG Football Benchmark.