Changes to the International Match Calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The Bureau of the FIFA Council has approved a change to the men’s International Match Calendar in response to the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the postponement of the South American qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022™ that were due to take place in March 2021, CONMEBOL requested that the two affected matches be recovered by having triple matchdays in both September 2021 and October 2021 and adding three additional release days.
Taking into account the specific circumstances faced, the Bureau of the Council decided exceptionally and only for South America to facilitate the playing of an extra match in each of these windows by adding two additional release days.
The addition of two days will ensure sufficient rest and preparation time between matches, reflecting the longer travel distances required both to and within South America, thus safeguarding player welfare by mitigating the negative consequences of this more intense schedule, while ensuring a fair competition as well as a prompter return to their clubs of the players involved.