FIFA moves to abolish February, August friendlies
FIFA wants to abolish international friendly matches in February
and August in a move that will appease European clubs.
Football’s world governing body announced Monday a proposed
calendar of international matches from 2015-18 after a meeting of
world football stakeholders, which was boycotted by the 200-member
European Club Association following a public falling-out with
The suggested calendar calls for double-header dates – playing
two matches in a protected six-day period – each March, September,
October and November, plus June in odd-numbered years.
FIFA said the calendar has ”no specific dates for friendlies,”
which have proved unpopular with clubs and even many national team
Any noncompetitive matches ”can only be played within the
framework of the double dates,” FIFA said.
Clubs, which are obliged to release their players for calendar
matches, have lobbied FIFA to abolish the one-off friendly
The ECA has argued that international friendlies mean
unnecessary injury risks for their players, and take them away at
key times of the season.
FIFA and European club leaders have struggled to maintain a
working relationship in recent months, though the clubs had input
into the calendar talks through UEFA.
FIFA said the group meeting Monday used ”a proposal originally
submitted by UEFA as a basis for discussion.”
FIFA’s executive committee must approve the calendar at a March
29-30 meeting in Zurich.
The talks involving FIFA’s six continental confederations, plus
representatives of leagues and the global players’ union, FIFPro,
also discussed shaping the calendar through to the 2022 World Cup
”It was suggested that the same principles be retained for the
2019-2022 format,” FIFA said
Qatari official Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary general of the 2022
organizing body, attended the talks as an invited observer.
Influential power brokers, including UEFA President Michel
Platini and FIFPro general secretary Theo van Seggelen, have
suggested that the 2022 World Cup should be played in November and
December to avoid intense heat in Qatar during June and July when
the tournament is scheduled.
Qatar has shown no interest in changing its hosting plan, which
would require an overhaul of the international calendar and
national league schedules.
FIFA also declined to add the Olympics and youth tournaments to
the calendar, which would then require clubs to make their players
However, clubs’ request that players should be restricted to one
international tournament per year was not met.
FIFA said players should be allowed to play in its
Confederations Cup – a test event hosted one year before the World
Cup – as well as the Africa Cup of Nations and CONCACAF’s Gold Cup