The World Cup is soccer’s biggest stage – it is the championship of the most widely played sport in the all of the world. The talk, preparation and qualifying for each incarnation of the World Cup tournament seems to be going on all the time – but the final of soccer’s biggest tournament only take place during a one month period every four years.
Many fans, clubs and organizations argue that the World Cup tournament itself, as well as the sport of soccer would benefit greatly from increasing the frequency of soccer’s world championship tournament. Some present very valid points and cite that other major sporting events that hold tournaments on an international level are capable of organizing those tournaments once every year.
There is no doubt that the World Cup’s allure wouldn’t be hurt by holding the tournament every three or even every two years. It would probably increase soccer’s international popularity and would certainly do well to increase the tournaments revenue potential – holding the tournament every two years would, in effect, double the amount of revenue created by the biggest international sports tournament. Reducing the number of years between World Cup tournaments would most likely also allow the qualifying team’s players to be more recognizable to fans – the players would be in front of the fans and on a big stage potentially twice as many times during their careers. This could potentially make fans feel more connected and attached to the players on the World Cup teams and possibly even cause an increase in the amount of people who tune in to watch the World Cup finals.
Why Every Four Years?
World Cup purists argue that every four years is ideal for the tournament and it is relatively unlikely that any change in World Cup frequency will actually occur – at least within the near future. It does take quite a bit of preparation to get ready for a month long tournament which draws in teams from more than thirty countries and fans from probably more nations than that.
The host country is voted on and selected long before the tournament will actually be held and the lengths to which the organizers go to ensure that everything is not just prepared, but perfect for each World Cup tournament are truly exhaustive. Other major sports tournaments may host players and fans from all over the world but few, if any can match the sheer magnitude of the World Cup tournament.
More than 200 countries will vie for a spot in the final phase of the World Cup tournament in 2010 to be held in South Africa, and of those more than 200, only thirty one teams will make the cut to appear in the World Cup (the South African team receives an automatic bye to compete as the host nation, making the total team count an even thirty two.) Many believe that trying to cram all of the qualifying and all of the necessary preparation into a shorter time period would hurt the quality and the overall success of the tournament – and that could very well be true.
The only other sporting events that are truly comparable (even bigger than the World Cup), are the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, which are both also held once every four years due to all of the preparation of the destination and the athletes who are to be involved.
Holding the tournament only once every four years only adds to the majesty of the World Cup and contributes to the sheer desire and determination of the many teams involved to first make the cut to the finals and then compete for the prestigious title of World Cup Champion.