Transfer system and match calendar discussed as FIFA meets global football community

24 Nov 2021
  • Discussions also on the future of the international match calendar, as part of wide-ranging consultation

  • Reflections also on reform of transfer system following European Parliament report

  • Stakeholders from all areas of professional football invited to take part

FIFA and stakeholders from across the professional game have met virtually to discuss a range of topics in men's football including the ongoing reform of the transfer system and gathering various perspectives on the future of the international match calendar.

The meeting provided FIFA Chief of Global Football Development Arsène Wenger with the opportunity to outline his proposals for the future of the international match calendar during the Professional Football Conference, alongside Technical Director Steven Martens. In addition to the mandatory rest period for players, the topic of international qualification windows was discussed as well as the retained balance of matches for clubs and leagues and the benefit scheme for those clubs. Delegates from over 50 of FIFA’s member associations participated, together with members of the media.

In welcoming the participants via video message, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “FIFA has included stakeholders in the decision-making process and has democratised access to information in a way that is remarkable and unprecedented. This webinar is one of many initiatives aimed at engaging with all the main actors of the game: bigger, smaller and from every corner of the world. Along those lines and given the diverse conversations and debates around the International Match Calendar and FIFA’s proposals. We have decided to dedicate part of this year’s edition of the FIFA Professional Football Conference to these important topics.”

“Our proposal does not lead to a reduction in matches for the leagues,” Mr Wenger explained as part of a question-and-answer session with stakeholders. “It’s more of an optimisation of the time available. It will be clearer and regrouping windows means more time available for the clubs and leagues. Time is an important factor in football. Longer breaks means fewer breaks overall, and less disruption to the season.”

Zuerich 24.11.2021FIFA Professional Football Conference at Home of FIFAArsene Wenger and Steven Martens (v.r.)FOTO: foto-net

FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development summarised the demand of the member associations to compromise between the quantity of qualifying matches and the need to reduce interruptions to the club season, saying that playing six matches in October and two in March could be a workable solution, also spelling out what it would mean for the clubs in financial terms.

“Basically, if you have two [FIFA] World Cups in four years, you will have twice the benefit scheme for the clubs,” he added. “FIFA will continue to support the clubs; there’s no going back on that.”

Over 500 participants to the sessions – including representatives of clubs and leagues – also had the chance to hear the reaction of FIFA Chief Legal and Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero to the report on EU sports policy presented by Member of the European Parliament Tomasz Frankowski. The report reinforces FIFA’s boosting of the regulatory framework through the reform of the transfer system which is a key pillar of the FIFA President’s Vision 2020-2023.