Fifa creates new international window for postponed matches.
Fifa, football’s global governing body, has detailed plans for a new international match window midway through the 2021-22 season to catch up on fixtures impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A window has been created from January 24 to February 1, 2022 to replace the window from August 31 to September 8, 2020. The window will apply to all confederations except Uefa, football’s European governing body.
The new calendar will see the Africa Cup of Nations take place in January 2022 as previously announced by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), with the exact dates to be determined at a later stage.
The calendar will also include new dates for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, with preliminary rounds to take place from July 2-6 and the tournament itself to run from July 10 to August 1.
The newly-created window will not apply to Uefa, with European national teams still scheduled to play twice in the Nations League in September before club seasons begin.
However, the new window will affect European clubs whose players will be needed for the Africa Cup of Nations midway through the 2021-22 season.
The Association of European Professional Football Leagues (European Leagues) stated yesterday (Tuesday) that the continent’s top-tier competitions have yet to discuss Fifa’s proposed new calendar.
Uefa is pressing ahead with its plans for Nations League matches in September, although the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) yesterday raised doubts over the practicalities of traveling across Europe for matches.
Fifa creates new international window for postponed matches
The federation told De Telegraaf newspaper that it would prefer to adopt the system adopted for the final stages of the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, with fixtures taking place in one ‘bubble’.
The 2021-22 season is already due to start ahead of time to enable an early start for the 2022-23 campaign, which will be impacted by the winter 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The pandemic has severely impacted the national team calendar, with Uefa’s European Championships and the South American Football Confederation’s (Conmebol) Copa America having been pushed back a year until 2021.
Conmebol is also yet to start its qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Asian qualifiers for the tournament having also been put on hold.
Fifa has also created a new calendar for women’s internationals, with the existing window of September 14-22, 2020 having been cancelled for all confederations except Uefa.