Saturday, 02 October 2021 16:12

SAFA support FIFA’s plan to stage a biennial World Cup.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

SAFA President Dr Danny Joordan,Photo Credit: Lee Warren.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) NEC has thrown its weight behind the suggestion of the FIFA World Cup (for both men and women) being held after every 2 years.

SAFA CEO Tebogo Motlanthe has been mandated to write an official letter to FIFA confirming SAFA’s decision.

The NEC resolved that having the FIFA World Cup will help the African continent a great deal as more tournaments translate to more opportunities for African teams.NEC also resolved that FIFA should be encouraged to revisit the rotation system to avoid one or two continents to monopolise hosting the FIFA World Cup events.

With regards to the FIFA Club World Cup, the NEC said the issue of the short period of time left to bid and put all processes in place was proving a challenge. The FIFA Club World Cup is scheduled to take place in December.

SAFA will also liaise with the government regarding the return of fans to the stadiums that is a prerequisite for hosting the Club World Cup. For South Africa to host the Club FIFA World Cup, the nation needs to reach the 70 percent vaccination threshold. South Africa is currently red listed by Great Britain where European champions Chelsea will come from, another possible hindrance to the process. Therefore, SAFA NEC resolved that they will not be pursuing the matter of hosting this event.

With regards to fans returning to the stadiums, the NEC resolved that football should play a major role in the vaccination drive.

The NEC members will have to be vaccinated and show the vaccination certificates, failure of which one would have to produce a recent negative Covid-19 results whenever they attend meetings.

Everyone attending the SAFA meetings and events including the support staff should also be vaccinated. These include all players playing in the SAFA competitions, referees, coaches and everyone involved. Those that do not meet the requirements will not be allowed to participate in any football events. The deadline for this drive is 30 October 2021.

Meanwhile, only fans that are vaccinated will get free entry into the forthcoming Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup match between South Africa and Ethiopia that is scheduled to take place at FNB Stadium on 12 October.

On the same breath, SAFA’s Special Member, the NSL has resolved to use the Soweto Derby to also encourage mass vaccination drive.

The more the people are vaccinated the more the economic opportunities are opened for those selling their products. Taxi drivers who take fans to the stadiums will also be encouraged to vaccinate and football will engage various taxi associations to work together.

FIFA will on Thursday hold a summit with all 211 national football federations as it seeks to gather support for controversial plans to stage the World Cup every two years despite vociferous opposition from Europe.

Officially the summit, which is being held online, is taking place to discuss the international calendar for both men's and women's football beyond 2024 and world football's governing body insists all scenarios remain open.

However, in recent weeks FIFA has been actively pushing the idea of a biennial World Cup, rather than staging the competition every four years.

The idea has been floated before, by former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 1999, and it was brought to life again earlier this year by Arsene Wenger in the ex-Arsenal manager's current role as FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development.

It is an incendiary topic given all the different interests at stake, between clubs and national teams, domestic leagues and international competitions.