FIFA will reduce friendly dates

FIFA will reduce friendly dates

Published Sep. 7, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Britain's FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has conceded that some international friendly dates will have to be scrapped.

However, Boyce insists the demands of European clubs for just six international dates a year is going too far.

The European Club Association want smaller qualifying groups or the scrapping of friendlies in order to have fewer internationals.

Boyce said talks would be held later this month between the heads of the European associations, and that some dates such as the August friendly may bite the dust.


He said: "International football is still very important for countries, and it is also important for supporters to have the opportunity to watch their national teams play.

"There have been a lot of meaningless friendlies recently, played at times of the year when players don't really want to play and clubs don't want to release their players.

"I understand clubs feeling the way they do, but it is still very important that a compromise can be reached which satisfies them but still maintains the importance of internationals.

"Certainly some of the friendly dates have to stop but the clubs must also understand that for many associations the internationals are their lifeblood in terms of income.

"The European associations are meeting later this month and what they are going to possibly look at is the friendly date in August, which causes a lot of problems."

Former Irish FA president Boyce said the meeting would also investigate whether it would be better to merge the November and March friendly dates into back-to-back games.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the ECA chairman and chief executive of Bayern Munich, said on Tuesday that the clubs were tired of releasing their players for "nonsense" matches.

Rummenigge added: "We have to come back in favour of quality not quantity.

"[Qualifying groups] used to have groups of four, now it is six or seven. It has to be stopped that we release players for nonsense dates.

"Everything in the international calendar is balanced in favour of national teams."