FIFA plans to reshape the international calendar, including SIX games played in October each year
FIFA is planning a reshuffle of the international calendar, including SIX matches played in October each year, as Arsene Wenger says cutting matches will cause a drop in income that will be “too big” for national football associations and smaller countries “less opportunities to would have to compete.
- Arsenal Icon Arsene Wenger Is Now FIFA’s Head of Global Football Development
- In his role, he tries to change the current landscape of international football
- However, his radical proposals also met with resistance from many
FIFA is considering reshaping its proposals for the international calendar after national federations expressed concerns about the financial impact of reducing the number of international qualifiers.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, now FIFA’s head of global football development, is leading a consultation on the future of the international competition calendar in men’s football, including the hugely controversial proposal to host biannual World Cups.
Initially, FIFA had proposed reducing the number of international windows from five to just two – one in October and one in June – and that no country play more than seven qualifiers, including play-offs.
Arsene Wenger (center) leads plans to change FIFA’s international calendar structure
However, Wenger revealed that during the consultation process, national federations had expressed concerns about the financial impact that the reduction in international breaks and qualifiers would have, and demanded that there be room for up to 10 national team matches in each season, with the exception of matches in final tournaments. .
Wenger told an audience of clubs, leagues and federations from around the world at the virtual professional football conference: “The feedback we have received is that a single October period (for qualification) is considered too extreme and two touch points, the end of the season and October, are not enough.
“(There is) demand from the federations to keep the original number of games because they are selling the qualifiers and they think the drop in income will be too big for them.
“The smaller countries also said that if you reduce the number of qualifiers and we don’t qualify for the big tournaments, we will have fewer chances to compete than with the current format.
“Everyone says the status quo is not accepted. We want change. So, what can we do?
“If we look at the federations that are asking for more qualifications than we initially proposed, we could add option three. That means that in the original proposal you had, for example, in option two four games in October and three games in March. We were able to play six games in October and two games in March and two games in preparation for the final tournament in June.’
According to the Frenchman’s proposals, each international team could play six times in October
There has been strong opposition to Wenger’s proposals within Europe. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin suggested that European countries could boycott biannual World Cups and the confederation is already planning a European Championship in 2028, when FIFA proposes to hold the first World Cup in the new biannual cycle.
Earlier this month, the Premier League expressed its opposition to the calendar proposals and expressed concerns about the impact on the fan experience and the quality of competitions.
Clearly there are concerns that longer windows would be more disruptive to top flight than the current calendar. An international break of six games in October would effectively mean that top domestic football would have to take a month off each season.
Wenger says that coaches at the club and national team level would benefit from changing this “stop, go” approach, while keeping the balance between club and national team football at 80-20.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said last month that he hoped to present a “consensus” on the calendar to members of his organization at a global summit on December 20.
All 20 Premier League clubs have unanimously opposed the potential international proposals
Richard Masters, Premier League Chief Executive, says all ‘radical plans’ will be challenged