FIFA’s international windows allow players to return to their countries for two matches, but the pandemic has left FIFA a narrower window to complete the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, which will open in Qatar next November. Premier League and La Liga agreed to not release players for international matches in UK’s red list countries due to coronavirus.
Most of the world’s top leagues and clubs this summer asked FIFA to work with them to find a solution to the scheduling crisis, which would now require national teams to play three matches instead of two in each international window.
However, FIFA ignored these requests and added two more days for qualifying matches in September and October. Their clubs and leagues were furious, but faced penalties if they refused to release their players.
It looks like Premier League teams are willing to take a risk. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters supported the club’s decision, saying in a statement: “Premier League clubs have always supported the desire of their players to represent their countries – a matter of pride for all concerned. However, clubs have reluctantly but rightly concluded that releasing players under these new circumstances would be completely unfair.”
The Premier League’s objections are financial and competitive as well. FIFA’s decision to extend the international break would leave clubs in Europe and elsewhere without multimillion-dollar talent for key games at the start of the season, as the new dates – and players’ travels – overlap with domestic schedules.
“As a governing body, FIFA must try to find the best solution for the entire football community,” the World League Forum, an umbrella organization for some 40 top leagues, said in a statement opposing the decision. To add days to the international break. “Instead, FIFA decided to implement the worst possible option, with practically no notice. This is a clear governance issue that will need to be addressed. “
FIFA has rejected calls from clubs and leagues to find another solution, in a statement directly linked to the release of South American players that its schedule allows for adequate rest.