Soccer - CAF president urges 'open minded' debate on World Cup every two years

FILE PHOTO: South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe gestures during a media briefing as he delivers his CAF Presidency strategy ahead of the upcoming CAF Presidential elections, in Sandton, South Africa, February 25, 2021. REUTERS/ Siphiwe Sibeko

(Reuters) - Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe says discussions around hosting the World Cup every two years should continue "in an open minded manner", providing a potential boost to FIFA's controversial plans.

Motsepe is viewed as a staunch ally of FIFA president Gianni Infantino and CAF provides a sizeable voting bloc within the organisation, with 54 of its 211 members.

"CAF is of the view that at this stage, what is most important is for the discussions and deliberations to continue taking place in an open minded manner and with the objective of doing what is in the best interest of all Member Associations, the Confederations, football players and other stakeholders worldwide," Motsepe said in a statement on Tuesday.

"CAF is deeply committed to the development, growth and success of football in Africa and the rest of the world. We believe that the long-term growth and success of FIFA, the Member Associations and all Confederations are inextricably intertwined."

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has welcomed FIFA's feasibility study for the plans, while the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) said it was potentially open to the idea, provided it creates a more balanced structure for the game globally.

But the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has criticised the proposal, saying it was "highly unviable" and would overwhelm the football calendar.

European soccer's governing body UEFA also rejected the idea, warning that its members could boycott the World Cup if the plans go ahead.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)

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