The Solution to All WC Problems

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by photar74, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    Problems with the current WC format:

    What are the current biggest problems that different parties have with the WC? Let’s break them down, party by party:

    1. FIFA: FIFA wants more money. This is why FIFA has tried to establish the unpopular Confederations Cup and World Club Championship, and why there was a proposal for a WC every two years. This is also why FIFA works to spread allocations to regions where new markets can be opened. Simply put, FIFA wants MORE.

    2. Confederations: Every single confederation wants more spaces. There isn’t a single confederation out there that believes it deserves as many allocations as it already has. On the contrary, every confederation believes it deserves more allocations than it already has.

    3. Clubs: Clubs are annoyed at the number of national team matches in which their players must participate.

    4. Small Nations: Small nations have far less possibility of qualifying for a WC (than large nations), and even less a possibility of ever hosting a WC than large nations.

    5. Me (hell, its my thread, I can add my complaint). I find it annoying that losing your first two matches means certain elimination in this WC. If that’s the case, why not just have a straight, 32-team knockout round? Why give poor calls and fluky plays so high a chance of ruining a team’s trip to the WC? That’s my complaint.

    These are the problems--I have a solution.
  2. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    A 48 team WC

    There is a simple, if seemingly excessive, solution to all of these problems: a 48 team WC. The format would become eight groups of six, round robin, as opposed to the current eight groups of four, round robin. The top team in every group would advance to the 1/8-finals. The 2nd and 3rd place teams in every group would advance to a 16-team knockout stage, the winners of which would advance to the 1/8 finals. While the tournament would last 43 days, as opposed to the current 31, we shall see that this increase would not matter and not be a bother to any of the involved parties. This is because a 48 team WC would solve everyone’s problems. Let’s break it down:

    1. FIFA would be rolling in money with a 48 team WC. First, it could open new markets all around the world. Second, a 48-team WC every four years would have more games than a two 32 team WCs every four years (144-128). Third, all forty-eight nations represented would have five guaranteed games--can you imagine the TV audience for the first round of matches? Overall, it would be such a cash cow for FIFA that FIFA probably wouldn’t even care that no one cares the World Club Championships or the Confederations Cup.

    2. Every confederation would have more than enough allocations. A simple breakdown could be: UEFA 20.0, CAF 7.0, AFC 6.5, CONCACAF 6.0, CONMEBOL 6.0, OFC 1.5, Host 1.0 (If there is more than one host, simply subtract the number of hosts over 1.0 from the host confederation’s total allocations. An example would be: Japan and South Korea both from AFC = 1.0 more than 1.0, which means 5.5 for AFC plus hosts). It is hard to imagine any confederation complaining about these allocations (except, perhaps, AFC). Even if they did, it’s hard to imagine a situation where there wouldn’t be any easy compromise worked out. We’re talking about a huge number of allocations here.

    3. A 48 team WC would require either 9 or 10 matches for the finalists and semifinalists, thereby irritating clubs. However, with 48 teams in the finals, the amount of qualifiers would be significantly reduced. This would be great for clubs, since qualifiers take place during the club season in most countries. In fact, qualifiers and friendlies are the real sticking points in the club vs. country struggle, not WC finals or continental finals. Clubs would actually get to keep their players for more time with a 48 team WC than with a 32 team WC because there would be fewer qualifiers in a 48 team WC than with a 32 team WC. In a WC year, the European season would need to end one week early and start three weeks late, but the time gained by clubs through reduced qualifiers would far outweigh this concession.

    4. Small nations would be far better off, and not just because it would be easier for them to qualify. With 48 teams, who would really care if there were two hosts? Three hosts? Hell, why not have four hosts? Under this format, you would vastly increase the number of nations that could be WC hosts, simply because multiple hosting wouldn’t be a problem. The cool thing is that you would still only need twelve venues (twelve matches in each venue would be enough).

    5. Teams can recover from bad starts to the tournament. I feel that this not only gives all teams more chances, but also it reduces the possibility of “fluke” wins or bad calls ruining a team’s WC run. This is, of course, not even to mention the vast amounts of money that can be wrought from having five group matches for each of the 48 qualifiers, instead of three matches for each of the 32 qualifiers.

    Best of all, we could stop arguing about allocations, about bad qualifying draws, about club managers that won’t release their players, etc., and just sit back and enjoy the greatest six weeks every four years has to offer. Sure, qualifying would be easier, but it wouldn’t be a given, even for top nations (Netherlands and Yugoslavia would both still have not qualified, and the USA would have sweated a lot as the Barbados game would have been for all the marbles. Costa Rica would have worried even more).

    A 48 team WC is to the benefit of everyone. If soccer is going to continue to expand worldwide, then its premier tournament also needs to expand. The current size of 32 has already proved to be too small (see the confederation struggle for more places as an example). Expand the game. Expand the World Cup.
  3. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly

    What’s that you say? Scheduling would be a nightmare? Well, a 48-team WC would not even be difficult to schedule. The WC would begin on the second Sunday of June every WC year. From that point, the schedule would be as follows:

    Sunday-Wednesday: Group Stage, first set (six matches per day)
    Thursday-Sunday: Group Stage, second set (six matches per day)
    Tuesday-Friday: Group Stage, third set (six matches per day)
    Saturday-Tuesday: Group Stage, fourth set (six matches per day)
    Thursday-Sunday: Group Stage, fifth set (six matches per day)
    Tuesday & Wednesday: First Knockout Round (four matches per day)
    Saturday, Sunday: 1/8 Finals (four matches per day)
    Saturday: Quarterfinals (four matches)
    Wednesday: Semifinals (two matches)
    Saturday: 3rd Place match (one match)
    Sunday: Final (one match)

    This schedule runs 43 days, although with more rest than the current tournament allows. Tournament begins between June 8-14, and ends between July 20-26.

    It would probably be good to increase the number of subs to four, in this scenario. If a knockout stage match went into extra time, each team could have five subs. All told, with the breaks built into the schedule and with the extra sub, this system would probably reduce the strain on players (at least compared to the current model).

    The first 48-team WC could be USA 2014. Its way too late for 2006, and bids for 2010 are being prepared based on the 32-team format. However, 2014 can be different. The country that could most easily handle a 48-team WC, the USA, would get the first shot at doing so.

    I even think that when the USSF presents its bid to host the 2014 tournament, they should propose that the 2014 WC be a 48-team tournament. Talk about the clincher—there would cease to be any opposition to the US bid whatsoever if it was combined with a 48-team WC proposal. It would be end of story, end of game.
  4. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    If this happened in ‘02

    If there were a 48 team WC in ’02 (there were certainly enough venues between Japan and South Korea), with the allocations described in a previous post, the following teams would have also qualified:

    UEFA: Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, (Slovakia-Scotland winner)
    CAF: (Zimbabwe-Liberia winner), (Ivory Coast-Morocco winner)
    AFC: Iran, UAE, (Bahrain-Uzbekistan winner)
    CONCACAF: Honduras, Jamaica, T &T
    OFC: Australia, (New Zealand vs. Bahrain-Uzbekistan loser)
    CONMEBOL: Columbia

    Only four or five teams would be true fodder, and that is right now. By 2014, every confederation can probably fill its allocations with quality sides.

    Frankly, I think the whole setup is a thing of extreme beauty.

    Expand the game. Go to 48 teams (and then hold at that number for a few decades).
  5. Bauser

    Bauser Member+

    Dec 23, 2000
    Fredrikstad FK
    I understand you're a newbie to the forums, but we have had this debate countless times already, therefore the poor response to the thread.

    After heated discussions it all boils down to the same thing:

    The World Cup works best with 32 teams.
  6. lanman

    lanman BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 30, 2002
    Firstly, I belive that 48 teams will be the next logical step for FIFA to take. Unfortunately, the confederations may not be too keen, as it would have increase the number of games played, and many now believe that too many are played. If there were to be a general re-structuring of the international calender, then it could work.

    60% of South American teams qualifying seems a bit excessive to me. My personal view on the qualifying would be to combine Asia and Oceania aswell as North and South America. This would give four relatively similar sized qualifying bodies, and re-allocation of places based on performance would be easier.

    Lastly, 2014 will not be going to North America. South America (or Europe if there are no serious bids) will host the World Cup.
  7. mr magoo

    mr magoo New Member

    Jul 19, 2002
    South Shields
    It's perfect the way it is. If you have 48 teams competting then soon you will want 64 teams involved and then 96 and then the circle continues. If the countries were good enough to be in the world cup they would qualify from the qualification satges to get into the proper tournament.

    Adding more teams would mean more games and managers are as upset enough as it is with the current international schedual without adding 3 or 4 more games on.
  8. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Nice to read a series of posts by someone who actually put the time to think it out. Way to go, photar.

    It would be interesting to see a response to the contrary that was actually thought out.
  9. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    Basic Response

    I would like to say first and foremost that I originally believed a 32-team WC was the perfect format and that it should stay at that number for the foreseeable future. However, I turned to the expansion idea as a result of my work over the past two months to try and develop a statistical system to determine “deserved” WC allocations. Time and time again I came to the conclusion that UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and OFC were being screwed by AFC (and, to a significantly lesser extent, by CAF).

    Everyone at FIFA, including AFC delegates, knows they are over-represented, at least in terms of quality. However, everyone also knows that in UEFA and CONMEBOL, the soccer market is pretty much tapped out—there simply isn’t much room for expansion. As far as CONCACAF goes, as long as Mexico and the USA qualify, Canada is the only lucrative CONCACAF market that misses most WCs. In OFC, Australia is the only lucrative market (well, maybe New Zealand).

    So what is FIFA to do? If it really wanted the 32 teams to qualify to be more or less the 32 best teams in the world, it would have to cut into AFC’s total. However, reducing AFC’s total is, quite simply, bad business. There are numerous lucrative markets in the AFC that can still be tapped, and locking them out of the WC reduces the possibility to expand the sport worldwide.

    However, at this point allowing more teams from AFC into the WC would require further reductions to the already lucrative UEFA markets (and, to a lesser extent, the somewhat lucrative CONMEBOL markets). Basically, my point is that a 32 team WC is bad for FIFA, business-wise. It leaves out some of the best teams AND it hinders the possibility of future market expansion.
  10. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    How much money are we talking about?

    Before I made my original series of posts, I even went to the World Bank website to see just how bad a 32-team WC is for FIFA, in terms of market size. Here are the total GNI figures for the sixteen largest markets that were left out of the most recent WC, in millions:

    Canada 677,178
    India 477,555
    Australia 368,571
    Netherlands 374,976
    Switzerland 247,362
    Austria 188,742
    Norway 165,458
    Indonesia 145,306
    Venezuela 124,948
    Finland 121,987
    Iran 118,868
    Thailand 114,760
    Greece 116,347
    Israel 110,386

    This is some pretty lucrative stuff. Further, strong or potentially strong soccer nations such as Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Columbia, Chile, Peru, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and New Zealand are in the next 16. When combined, all of these nations have a GNI more than half that of the entire EU. Still further, all of these nations (except India and Indonesia) have either qualified or come close to qualifying for the WC in the recent past.

    To ignore the potential for further market expansion in the WC that would not erode the high level of play in current WCs would be reminiscent of the conservative, patrician—even colonial—leadership of FIFA before Joao Haveledge. The current 32-team setup will either continue to allow teams such as China into the WC over the Netherlands despite the obvious gap in quality of play, or it will continue to allow teams such as Uruguay in over Australia despite the massive market advantages of a team such as Australia.

    The only way to guarantee that all of the world’s best teams at a particular moment in time are in the WC and that every lucrative market has a reasonable shot at making the WC would be to expand to 48 teams.
  11. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    48 would not lead to future expansion to 64 or beyond

    In his/her post, Mr. Magoo pointed to the possibility that expanding to 48 teams would result in a spiraling effect, where every few WCs the field would continue to expand. However, this is not the case, because a 48 team WC would actually have more matches than a 64 team WC (and more guaranteed matches that could be sold to a TV station in every qualifier country). This means that expansion to 64 teams from 48 teams would actually result in a significant contraction of the size of the WC. Let’s break it down:

    48 teams: 6 groups of eight, 24 knockout stage matches: 144 matches
    64 teams: 16 groups of 4, 32 knockout stage matches = 128 matches

    There would be two other ways to structure a 64 team WC, which would result in more matches than a 48 team WC, but both are not feasible. Let’s look at both of these:

    The first would be to have two group stages, which means that a 64 team WC would basically be the same setup as the current WC only with another group stage before the existing one. However, FIFA has repeatedly voted this idea down ever since the obvious problems with a second group stage were exposed in the 1982 tournament. Particularly, a second group stage leads to massive scheduling inequalities, as some teams would have a significantly greater amount of rest and preparation time going into the second group stage than others. A second group stage has been proposed and voted down for each of the past five WCs, as it will until the end of time. This is of course to not even mention how a second group stage would make it difficult to sell TV rights to a company in a qualifier country when that company really has no idea how many games its home team will be involved in. Gee, I wonder if there is a connection between FIFA votes and the problems two group stages would create for TV deals...

    The second method would be to have eight groups of eight teams. However, even if four teams were allowed to advance to the knockout stage under this setup, it is statistically likely that at least 25% of all matches would be entirely meaningless. Under a 48 team, six-group setup as I have proposed, it is statistically likely that only one game (maybe two) would be meaningless. Thus, expansion to 64 teams under this system would only just barely be an increase, despite the fact that players would be required to play seven games in only three weeks, and then go on to a 32 team knockout round.

    So, I do not in anyway feel that expansion to 48 teams would result in a continuing upward spiral in the number of finalists. On the contrary, I think there are good reasons to believe that it would be seen as the final level of possible expansion. 64 teams simply does not do much more for FIFA than 48 (64 might even do far less, monetarily speaking), although 48 would clearly do vastly more for FIFA than 32.

    Anyway, both in terms of quality football (China was ranked 50th before the WC, Senegal 42nd) and in terms of market size (exactly 48 nations in the world have a GNI over 50B annually), more than 48 would be trying to squeeze blood from a stone.
  12. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    And Finally…

    Bauser: Yes, I am comparatively new to this forum, but I am certainly not a newbie. I was here well before the crash, and using the archives I familiarized myself with some of the discussions of this sort that took place in the past. I never ran into one as thorough as the one I proposed, although I freely admit that could be because I am relatively new. Perhaps you could explain to me what would be wrong with my proposal.

    Lanman: The USA would most definitely get the WC in 2014 if it was decided that the 2014 WC would have 48 teams. It’s the only nation that could handle a 48-nation WC without much effort, and giving the USA the first 48-team WC gives other nations time to prepare a bid for a 48-team finals. Besides, if CONCACAF and CONMEBOL were combined as you suggest, then he USA would be in the confederation you see as next in line for a WC! :)

    Also, as I stated in one of my posts, having a 48-team finals would actually ease the club vs. country debate, because it would reduce the number of qualifiers. Let’s compare the number of matchdays a 48-team WC qualifying campaign would require:

    UEFA: 10 (12 currently), although only 8 per nation. Further, their importance would be reduced, as several teams would have qualified before the final game or two.
    CONMEBOL: 10 (20 currently), although only 8 per team. Lots of European managers would love this.
    CONCACAF: Six, after the prelims. What are now the semis would become the finals, thus reducing the total number of matchdays by 10. MLS & MFL would love this.
    CAF: Same amount, no change.
    AFC: Same amount, no change.
    OFC: Same amount, no change

    So, for adding only 12 days to the current WC, (twelve days that aren’t even during the European season), FIFA would give back an enormous amount of time to clubs during the season. A 48-team WC would increase the number games in the WC, but reduce to number of national team games overall.

    Mr. Magoo: The notion that all teams that qualified for the finals deserved to be there and that any team that didn’t qualify for the finals doesn’t deserve to be there ignores some obvious facts. The biggest thing it ignores is that different confederations clearly either have more spaces than they deserve, or fewer spaces than they deserve. Any nation on Earth would rather have been in China’s qualifying group than Portugal’s. A 48 team WC would reduce the inequalities top teams face in qualifying. Admittedly, it would not eliminate such inequalities entirely.

    Ursula: Thank you very much! I’m glad someone liked my posts. :)

    Anyway, for a very long time I thought a 32-team WC Finals was perfect, but not anymore. A 48-team WC Finals would satisfy the wishes of every major party in the football world, and probably be the endpoint of WC expansion.

    A 48-team WC Finals in 2014!
  13. lanman

    lanman BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 30, 2002
    Re: And Finally…

    England could easily cope with a 48 team World Cup. We are the only country in Europe that is continuing to build new stadia. Besides, the 2014 tournament would co-incide quite nicley with the 150th anniversary of the FA, and therefore football as we know it.

    That said, I'm with you on every other point. It's only a natural progression to expand the World Cup as more and more nations improve. Who knows what the quality will be like in 12 years time? If someone had told you in 1990 that USA would reach the quarter finals and Korea and Turkey the semis then you would have had them sent to some sort of asylum.
  14. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Unless I missed something I'm not sure how having more teams qualifying would actually reduce the number of qualifying matches required. e.g. if Europe Currently has 8 groups of 5/6 with 1.5 qualifying from each, then having 8 groups of 5/6 with 3 qualifying from each would still have the same amount of qualifiers. Maybe it's wrong to concentrate on UEFA, but it's the European clubs who are doing most of the complaining (mainly due to Europe gaining 15 or so countries in as many years.

    But the big danger of having 48 teams is that people might start getting fatigued with the whole thing. By having too many average teams the world cup would just become an overblown mess and cease to be special - it is supposed to be a tournament FINALS after all. The group stages would last forever or involve so many games in one day that either games will have to be played simultaneously (thus losing TV revenue) or stretched out over a 12 hour period (assuming 6 per day as mentioned below) which would hardly be ideal (9am kick off anyone?). Watching the world cup would become a feat of endurance.

    Also if you think that the USA is the only country in the world that has the 20 or so stadiums required then you are sorely mistaken.
  15. lanman

    lanman BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 30, 2002
    You could host a 48 team tournament with 12-16 stadia quite easily. All it would take is good fixture management.
  16. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    In UEFA, you would simply have the same format as you have for Euro qualification now, except you would toss Kazakstan into one group. The top two teams from each group would qualify, and you wouldn't need the playoffs. Because you wouldn't need the playoffs, you would reduce the total number of matchdays by two, even if there would be no real reduction in the amount of matches. Fewer matchdays = happier club managers.

    Watching the WC would become a feat of endurance? Welcome to being a fan in the USA during the most recent WC. On the East Coast, games started at 2:30am, and ended at 9:30 am. It was pretty much the same throughout all of the Americas. In order to watch the WC, I had to turn down all but one teaching position in the first summer session. I stand by my decision. :)

    If there were six games per day, you would just have kickoffs at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm and 10pm. In the USA, the NCAA tournament actually improved ratings when they had tipoff times around the clock like this.

    Sure, I know that more nations than the USA could solo-host a 48 team WC. But could England do it right away, if asked? I'm not so sure. They would have to cohost with Wales to have a stadium to hold the finals in. My point was that the USA could host a 48-team WC next month, if asked. Other nations would have to do some serious prep to do a solo-host, even Germany.

    Well, maybe Spain and Italy could do it right away, if asked. :)

    Of course, as lanman said, you could definately do it with 16, or even with 12 if you had good enough fixture management, meaning that several nations could solohost, potentially.
  17. lanman

    lanman BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 30, 2002
    Old Trafford could host the final, capacity circa 65,000.
    My point for England is based on the new stadia planned, however. Within the next 4 years we should have 3 more 60,000+ stadia (Wembley, Arsenal, Liverpool), and many of the recently built stadia are designed to be expandable at little cost. Leeds still harbour thoughts of moving, and Twickenham could be used at a pinch (around 80,000 I think, so it could even host the final).
  18. Bauser

    Bauser Member+

    Dec 23, 2000
    Fredrikstad FK
    Photar, you've obviously put a lot of time and effort into making your suggestions and deserve credit for that, but there is one fundamental problem:

    TV-scheduling. I see a Champions League effect in your idea. More isn't always merrier. Six games a day is extremely unfriendly and it's important not to overfeed people with football. Even the most die-hard fans are tired when the hectic month is over. The most tiresome days in WC 2002 had four matches kicking-off one after another with a two hour gap and that was more than enough. Imagine six in a row - and at bad hours often as well for three or four weeks just to get done with the groupstage!

    One of the great things about the World Cup is that you can see every game live (apart from the last pair of matches in the groupstage which of course are played simultaneously to avoid scandals like AUT-GER in '82.) That would be virtually impossible with your plan.

    The World Cup is also the World Cup FINALS for a reason. Not World Cup Participation Tournament. Teams like Holland won't be missing at every World Cup. The spotlight should be on the lucky 32 who have struggled their way through to the greatest festival of sport. I'm not sure if an easy qualification route is good for the World Cup's value. No club manager has complained much about too many qualification matches, as far as I know. It's the friendly games that annoy them. You can always squeeze in 10-12 matchdays for QF games over an 18 month period anyway. Exciting qualification rounds also contribute in making the World Cup what it is.

    And why make it even more difficult for the host nations? It's tough enough already. Is this a trick to guarantee a World Cup in the US every 8th year?
  19. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    A New Schedule

    I couldn't sleep tonight, so I just spent an hour coming up with a new, far more TV friendly schedule for a 48-team WC. I admit, my first one had several TV scheduling flaws. This, however, might work out fine, and would only extend A 48-team WC by to 46 days (my earlier schedule had it at 43).

    First Thursday: Oping Match (Second Thursday of June, which would be June 8-14)
    Next 21 days: Alternate between five matches one day, four matches the next day. This schedule would both start and end on a five-match day. (95 matches, thereby completeing the first four sets of group stage matches).
    Next 4 days (Fri-Mon): Six matches each day (Group stage, final set of matches. Two match times each day, three games during each match time).
    Next 4 days (Tues-Fri) : Two matches each day (First 16-team knockout round)
    Next 4 days (Sat-Tues): Two matches each day (1/8 finals)
    Next 2 days (Wed & Thur): OFF
    Next 2 days (Fri & Sat): 2 matches each (1/4 finals)
    Next two days: OFF
    Last Wednesday: Semis
    Nest Two days: OFF
    Last Saturday: 3rd place match
    Last Sunday: Final (WC Ends: July 23-29)

    Note: It might be necessary to have each group play both the fourth and fifth sets of group stage matches concurrently.

    This schedule is way more TV friendly than my first version, as there are matches every day until the 1/8 finals are completed, and because it would allow each match to be shown without overlap (the final set of group stages matches being the obvious exception). Further, the only time added on would be during a weekend--prime for sports TV.

    Perhaps just as importanly, however, every team would have at least three days rest (although four would be much more common) between all matches. The current 32-team WC doesn't even provide for that amount of rest (the USA had to play Mexico on two days rest, and Belgium faced Brazil with the same). Combined with a four sub rule, under this schedule players would be well rested during the entire tournament (well, at least more rested than they are in the current tournament). If a team wins its group, it would be very well rested going into the 1/8 finals.

    Under this schedule, the worst that could happen to a team in terms of rest would be 10 matches in 41 days. Odds are that would happen to about one team every four WCs, but its really not so bad--Man U is going to play 10 matches from August 17-September 25 (40 days), even with a nice rest this weekend.
  20. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Most of the TV money is going to come from Europe. They are not going to pay much for matches starting after 6pm eastern time. Also, without being disrespectful to those sides, matches between third and fourth seeded teams aren't very appealing. Nobody was desperate to get to the pub to watch Mexico v Ecuador. Under your system rather than having one "unattractive" match (out of 6) per group you'll now have 6 (out of 15), e.g. all the matches between Mexico, Ecuador, Egypt and Bulgaria instead. That would be nearly half of the group games only having limited appeal.

    6 weeks is just too long for a tournament. Also with a lot of leagues starting early August and not ending until late May player fatigue could be a big factor as well. Not so much physically, but mentally.

    I have to confess to not knowing about all the stadia that have been built in the US since 94, but I'm pretty sure that I read that not a single one of the stadia used in 94 actually met the stadia criteria imposed on Italy in 1990 (there's a lot more to it than just capacity). Normally they were sub-standard on lack of covered seating (I know summer rain is not that common in the US, but is it in Italy either?) but most often on field size, which counts not only the actual playing area but the area around the field also. Most pitches in 94 looked like they'd been shoe-horned in. The US was allowed to get away with it purely because FIFA were trying to sell the game over there. Whether they'd be allowed to ignore rules that all other bidding countries have to adhere to is unlikely - so if none of the 94 stadia can be used are you still able to hold that 48 team WC next month?
  21. halfnelson31

    halfnelson31 New Member

    Jul 23, 2002
    If the 48 team final came true MLS(the only league i truly care about);) would be screwed. In this sceniro the finals would be about 2 weeks longer eating into even more of mls's schedule. I like the idea of 48 teams but make the tournment shorter some how
  22. empennage

    empennage Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Phoenix, AZ
    There are a bunch of NFL stadiums that have been built since 1994, and a bunch more that are going to be built. All of these stadiums are being built with soccer field dimensions in mind. They are also being built with soccer sight lines as well. Trust me there are more than enough stadiums in this country to host a 48 team tournament. Afterall, all of the NFL stadiums have 50,000+ capacirty and there are 30 or so football teams. And then there are all of the college stadiums that are large as well.

    Here's a link to site about NFL stadiums:
  23. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    TV Money Rant

    Although in your post you said that you meant no disrespect, your comments about Mexico are absurd at best, offensive at worst. Mexico, one of the two teams you anecdotally single out as not attracting a large TV audience in English pubs (wow, now there's a convincing argument--I should just give up all my research right now), has a GNI MORE THAN TWICE as large as every European nation except Germany, the UK, France and Italy (and by 2014, at the current rate, it will pass England (though not the UK), Italy and France), and is every bit as football mad. Not only does Mexico surpass almost every European nation in terms of both current and future market possibilities, on the field Mexico owns UEFA. Over the past four WCs, Mexico has gone 4-6-2 against teams from UEFA--top five on the planet against UEFA (only Italy, Germany, Brazil and Argentina are better agains UEFA since '86).

    Want to keep talking TV money? South Korea, now probably as football mad as any nation on Earth, is larger than all but five UEFA economies. Japan, now certain to follow the WC diehard, is more than 2.5 times larger than any UEFA economy. Oh yeah, and Brazil is larger than all but four UEFA economies. Argentina is larger than all but six. China, already larger than any UEFA economy save Germany, seems to be both getting better at football and richer all the time. Australia (17th largest economy in the world) is larger than all but five UEFA economies, and follows the socceroos die-hard. This is of course not even to mention the enormous market possibilities in the USA (30% of the world economy). If the USA keeps on its current curve, it will be one of the world's most lucrative football market in only a decade or two. Other major market possibilities include Canada (8th largest economy on Earth) and India (14th largest economy on earth and growing all the time). In fact, of the 18 best market possibilities for football on Earth, UEFA only has seven. UEFA even only has 6 of the current 12 best. By 2014, it is quite possible that less than 40% of worldwide soccer income will be coming from Europe. Here's another way to look at it:

    Current Confed GNI
    CONCACAF: $12T
    UEFA: $9.5T
    AFC: $8.5T
    CONMEBOL: $1.2T
    CAF: $0.75T
    OFC: $0.6T

    Remember, we're talking 12 years in the future for a 48-team WC, when these numbers are going to skew even further against UEFA.

    Most of the TV money from UEFA? If that is even true now, it won't be for very long. Mexico isn't an example of football quality high enough to watch? Even when they are playing the #2 qualifer out of CONMEBOL (Ecuador) for the top space in their group? A statement like that may be the very definition of European snobbery. If you presume to speak for Western Europe's opinion of Mexican football against a top opponent, I'll go ahead and speak for the rest of the world--we all know better than to ever consider El Tri an underdog, no matter who they are playing.

    I'm sorry if this post was harsh, but your primarily rhetorical, anecdotal argument / statement, especially the parts concerning Mexico (the main part), really pissed me off.
  24. Bauser

    Bauser Member+

    Dec 23, 2000
    Fredrikstad FK
    Photar, you seem to be more interested in the World Cup as a cashcow rather than as a first class football tournament and that is a sad view as I see it.

    I couldn't care less if Japan has the second largest economy in the world. If their team can't occupy one of the four or five spots available from Asia, then they should stay home. The TV-rights will be sold successfully in Japan anyway and the big dollars will flow into FIFA's big Swiss account. Unlike most other sports where people only care about their own national team, soccer - especially the WC - has global appeal and people will watch an awful lot of games between other nations anyway. TV-rights will be sold no matter if their country qualifies.

    It's not a make-or-break for FIFA economically to expand to 48 teams. You create more problems than you solve with your idea.

    ...and about Mexico, they are respected around the world, but I do believe their game against Ecuador at bad hours didn't bring out the masses to English pubs. There is no disrespect intended in that.
  25. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    TV Rant Continued

    I just want to make the follwing comment to anyone who really believes that a 48-team WC would actually somehow generate less TV money that a 32 team WC:

    144 total matches vs 64 total matches = 125% increase in total programming that can be sold.

    48 teams vs. 32 teams: 50% increase in the number of qualifer nations that have TV companies to whom FIFA can sell their 125% greater amount of programming.

    5 groups tage matches vs 3 group stage matches: 67% increase in the number of guaranteed matches for each of the 50% increased qaulifer nations with a TV companies to whom FIFA can sell their 125% amount of increased progamming.

    Av. 9 hours daily programming during group stages vs. Av. 6 hours of daily progamming during group stages: 50% increase in good time-slots, when taking worldwide timezones into account, for whom a 67% increase in the number of guanteed matches for the 50% increased amount of qualifer nations to whom a 125% of programming can be sold.

    We are potentially talking about increasing worldwide TV revenue eight-fold. Let's break down some of the complaints:

    Complaint one (from Bauser): With a 48-team WC, a far smaller number of viewers would be able to watch every WC match.

    Answer: This may upset diehards, but why should FIFA care about that? FIFA aims only to increase the number of matches that current viewers would watch, and to increase the total number of viewers. With a 48-team WC, very few current viewers would watch all 144 games, but most current viewers would watch more matches than they cuirrently do. Further, with more nations, you would vastly increase the total number of viewers. These two pillars are the true business goals, not making sure a few million crazies can watch every single match.

    Complaint Two (from multiple posters): Extending the WC another two weeks would result in fan exhaustion, thereby reducing potential TV revenue.

    Answer: I'm going to resist my urge to use rhetoric as an answer, argue by analogy and/or simply call this nonsense. Wait, no I'm not--do you seriously think that adding two weeks to a tournament that takes places every four years would bore you? Do seriously think that adding another two weeks to a tournament that happens once every four eyars would bore the football public at large? Would you really be bored with a 3.5 week group stage every four years? Would it really bore you to see your nation play five teams in the WC instead of three? This is a nonsensical complaint, based on no evidence whatsoever. I don't even know where someone would get this idea--WC football is the most popular type of soccer on the planet. Six weeks of football doesn't bore the football public at large, and I have decades--even centuries--of evidence to back me up on this. If this were true, than every league on Earth would fold, immediately. If six weeks of the most popular football would try fans patience, than the sport is doomed.

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