Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has told FIFA to consider restructuring the international football calendar or risk clubs refusing to release star players.
FIFA has pledged to become more transparent in its operations in the wake of the scandal which has seen a number of officials arrested on corruption charges and president Sepp Blatter given a provisional 90-day suspension.
With football’s governing body preparing for a reshuffle, Wenger believes now is the time to discuss changes to the way international breaks and major tournaments are woven into the season in order to prevent players from becoming overworked.
“It is now or never – you would like to put it all on the table,” he told Arsenal Player.
“You see the European Championship has gone from 16 to 24 teams. I bet you [because of] the way the system was organised, to be elected as new president of FIFA, the programme would be to move the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams.
“Why? Because Africa today has five countries in the World Cup and Europe has 13 – that cannot work for much longer.
“You cannot take countries away from Europe and if you want to be elected as FIFA president, you need the votes from the African countries, so you want to give more to Africa. So the next World Cups will be 40 teams.
“We face a situation where it’s impossible for the players to get through a season and have rest. This kind of friction that it creates between the clubs, national teams and international competitions can create a split.
“One day the clubs could move away and say, ‘Enough is enough, we pay a huge amount of money for our best players so we’ll get them together ourselves and organise our own competitions’.
“It’s important that all of that gets on the table while we have the opportunity.”
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