FIFA’s Bureau of the Council has unanimously approved a set of further changes to the men’s and women’s international match calendars in response to the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization announced Tuesday.
These changes follow a thorough consultation process with the confederations and soccer stakeholders. This process resulted in proposals via the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group that maintain the previously agreed principle that a tailor-made and flexible approach between confederations is required, reflecting the varied circumstances of the pandemic across the world.
The main changes:
Men’s international match calendar
* To replace the window from Aug. 31 to Sept. 8 with a window from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, 2022 for all confederations, except UEFA. This means that there is no mandatory release of players for member associations from these confederations next month.
* To include the new period of January 2022 for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, with the exact dates to be determined at a later stage; and
— to include the new dates of the Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 (preliminary rounds from July 2-6 2021 and final tournament from July 10 to Aug. 2021 with a mandatory release starting June 28, 2021.
Women’s international match calendar
* To replace the dates for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, originally scheduled from July 22 to Aug. 7, 2020, with new dates of July 21 to Aug. 6, 2021.
* To finalize the dates of the originally scheduled Type I window in June-July 2021 to June 7-15 2021.
* To cancel the existing window of Sept. 14-22 for all confederations except UEFA.
* To include alongside the existing Type I window from Sept. 13-21, 2021, an alternative option of a Type III window from Sept. 13-25 2021 for all confederations except UEFA.
* To finalize the dates of the existing Type II window in June-July 2021 as June 7-16, 2021 for all confederations except UEFA.
* To remove the current blocked period for the Women’s AFCON from Nov. 23 to Dec. 20 and to include UEFA in the blocked period from July 4, to Aug. 7, 2022.
The FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group will continue to monitor the situation in each confederation and if required make additional proposals to the FIFA Council.