A World Cup every two years? Watching Lionel Messi get more chances against Neymar, Kylian Mbappé or the likes of Italy and England: Doesn’t that sound awesome? Or is it one of the worst ideas in football? Don’t we already have way too much football going on? Or have we long crossed the Rubicon in terms of choosing the pleasure of the viewers over the matchday fans? Why don’t the players have a seat at the table? Are we witnessing a Cold War of sorts between FIFA, UEFA and/or the clubs? What can we do about it all?
Those are just some of the questions we posed to today’s guest, New York Times reporter Tariq Panja, who covers football and its opaque side from a global perspective. The London-based author of “Football’s Secret Trade” can often be found breaking some of the deeper and more sinister stories of football, offering a measured, but distinct set of opinions as well as a wide-ranging perspective on complex issues.
Our discussion starts out with FIFA’s recent plans, spearheaded by Arsène Wenger, to implement a biennial World Cup. Tariq maps out the situation and discusses the underlying conflict between FIFA and UEFA as well as the inherent structural problems with the two federations. We discuss who would benefit from this idea and how feasible it is. Tariq offers us a look at the “new wind” in FIFA’s sails under Gianni Infantino and his appeal to non-traditional football powerhouses vs UEFA and CONMEBOL and what this means not only for the future but already for the present.
If football’s Cold War has already started, are we just too busy (watching football) or just too disenchanted to try to untangle the deeper structural issues, or is there some hope on the horizon? Listen and find out from one of football journalism’s most authentic voices!
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