FIFA’s international windows will normally allow players to return to their home countries for two matches, but the pandemic has left FIFA with a compressed window to complete qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which opens in Qatar in November.
Most of the world’s top leagues and clubs had urged FIFA at a meeting this summer to work with them to find a solution to the scheduling crisis, forcing national teams to play three matches instead of one. two in each international window.
However, FIFA ignored those pleas and added two extra days for qualifiers in September and October. The clubs and their leagues were outraged, but they risk punishment if they refuse to release their players.
That seems to be a risk the Premier League teams are willing to take.
“Premier League clubs have always supported their players’ desire to represent their country – this is a matter of pride for everyone involved,” Premier League chief Richard Masters said in a statement supporting the decision of the Premier League. club. However, clubs have reluctantly but rightly concluded that it would be completely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances.
The Premier League’s concerns are also financial and competitive. With FIFA’s ruling to extend the international break, clubs in Europe and elsewhere are unlikely to have hundreds of millions of dollars in talent for key early-season games, as the new dates – and player travel – would overlap with domestic schedules.
“As a governing body, FIFA should try to find the best solution for the entire football community,” the World Leagues Forum, an umbrella organization for about 40 top leagues, said in a statement against the decision to add days to the international break. . “Instead, FIFA has decided to impose the worst possible option, almost without notice. This is a clear governance problem that needs to be addressed.”
FIFA has rejected appeals from the clubs and leagues to find another solution, saying in a statement directly linked to the release of South American players that the schedule allows adequate rest.