International match calendar – major step made towards final agreement
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At FIFA’s invitation, a working group of major stakeholders from the international football community, including confederations, players, clubs and professional football leagues, met today at the Home of FIFA in Zurich to discuss the post-2014 international match calendar. The meeting was opened by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and conducted by FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

The participants at today’s meeting unanimously stated that much progress has been made on reaching a consensus about the international match calendar. They also agreed on a recommendation – using a proposal originally submitted by UEFA as a basis for discussion – that will now be submitted to the FIFA Executive Committee. The main points of this recommendation include:

- Nine double dates in a two-year cycle (18 matches in total), with a tenth double date available for the non-European member associations during UEFA EURO 2016
- Even distribution of the nine double dates over each year (March-September-October-November), with a June window every second year (odd years)
- No specific dates for friendlies, which can only be played within the framework of the double dates
- Players shall be released from the Monday of any international week. Two national team matches can be played during this window until the Tuesday of the following week at the latest, e.g. with the first match on the Thursday.
- In principle, a team shall play both games of the same window in the same confederation; however, it may play them in two different confederations provided precise criteria (relating to flight times, for example) are fully observed, in order to avoid travel overload for players.
- A player may play more than one international tournament per year; however, Olympic and youth tournaments are not included in the international match calendar. Furthermore, whenever CAF’s Africa Cup of Nations and CONCACAF’s Gold Cup are played in the same year as the FIFA Confederations Cup, players of teams from CAF and CONCACAF that have qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup should be allowed to participate in both tournaments. 
 
Concrete dates have been proposed for the 2015-2018 international match calendar, and it was suggested that the same principles be retained for the 2019-2022 format.

The FIFA Executive Committee will discuss these proposals at its upcoming meeting on 29-30 March.