FIFA To Review Global Football Calender To Ease Fixture Congestion

FIFA will hold a “once and for all” review of the international match calendar, which governs the dates of major competitions and tournaments.

World football governing body also expressed concern at the gap between the top national teams and the rest, which it noted was getting bigger, and said that it wants to make more use of technology.

Leading managers including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have long complained about fixture congestion, with Guardiola describing the present system as a “disaster for players”.

Many in the game fear players risk burnout with the increasing demands modern football places on them.

For instance, many of the Premier League’s top players after the conclusion of the domestic season will be involved in Euro 2020, Copa America or the Olympics, with the Africa Cup of Nations taking place in January and February 2021.

“The international match calendar plays a central role in the sustainable growth of football in all regions of the world and at all levels,” FIFA said in a new document ‘The Vision 2020-2023: Making Football Truly Global’.

“For this reason, the current system should, once and for all, be discussed thoroughly with all stakeholders and reviewed according to their needs in a collective effort to guarantee a truly global approach,” FIFA added.

The review is part of a list of ‘11 goals’ which FIFA president Gianni Infantino has outlined for the next three years.

Those goals include their ongoing attempt to reform the transfer system and expanding the use of technology, including the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

“The successful implementation of VAR in FIFA’s competitions provides a foundation for the continuous enhancement of VAR technology, which should focus particularly on improving communication around VAR incidents and making the technology accessible for all member associations, regardless of their size and/or financial resources,” said FIFA.

FIFA was also concerned that very few teams from outside Europe and South America had reached the quarter-finals in any of the last three World Cups.

“This is directly linked to comparatively high levels of investment in Europe and low levels of investment everywhere else (with the limited exception of South America),” it said.

It said that FIFA, which will increase the number of teams at the World Cup to 48 from 2026, should “take steps to bridge this gap” with the long term aim of bringing at least 50 sides to a “top competitive level.”

FIFA also proposed further changes to the laws of the game and that “the promotion of offensive tactics should guide this process.”

Despite controversy over the implementation of the VAR system over the last two years, it also proposed the use of new technologies.

“FIFA should explore emerging technologies that can positively impact the game, such as artificial intelligence and sensor technology, and assess their capabilities,” it said.

It also wants to make VAR technology accessible for all member associations “regardless of their size and/or financial resources.”