Germany moans about plan for 2-year soccer World Cup cycle

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup - Germany Training - Eppan, Italy - May 26, 2018 Germany players during training REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The German soccer federation issued a strong critique of plans to hold the men’s World Cup every two years, warning Friday it means players risk more injuries and that women’s competitions will be overshadowed.

FIFA claimed Thursday it has the support of fans for the World Cup to be held more often. European soccer body UEFA and South American counterpart CONMEBOL are against the idea and have said they could boycott extra tournaments.

The board of the German federation, known as the DFB, said FIFA had sidestepped its own ruling council by proposing the plans first to a group of former players, and that drastic changes “cannot be made without the approval of European associations and European soccer.”

Germany also expressed concern for women’s events. The women’s World Cup is currently held in odd-numbered years and avoids clashes with major men’s tournaments. A two-year World Cup cycle could potentially force continental championships to clash with the women’s World Cup.

“If either a men’s World Cup or European Championship takes plays every summer, the women’s and junior tournaments would be marginalized in the shadow of the men’s competitions,” the DFB said.

Injuries are also a concern, the DFB argued, though FIFA has said it would seek to lighten the load on players by cutting back on non-tournament national team games.

Men’s and women’s players would face increased “physical and mental strain” and the new competition schedule “would lead to a significantly increasing risk of injury,” the DFB said.