Zurich – 16 December 2022 – The World Leagues Forum (WLF), the world association of professional football leagues, has been informed that the FIFA Council has today made significant decisions about the international match calendar that could have damaging consequences for the football economy and player welfare.
These decisions have been made unilaterally without consulting, let alone agreeing, with those who are directly affected by them: the leagues, their member clubs, the players and fans.
FIFA announced a 32-team Club World Cup in 2025 and decided key principles for the new International Match Calendar post-2024. FIFA also announced its intention to review the men’s World Cup format in 2026 to potentially include significantly more games with groups of 4 teams instead of 3 as initially agreed.
As the calendar is already overloaded, with longstanding domestic club competitions and ever-expanding international competitions, FIFA’s decision creates the risk of fixture congestion, further player injuries and a distortion of competitive balance.
The interests of the football community, which we expect FIFA to take care of, are not best-served by piling-up FIFA-owned matches which only involve the top 1% of players. Instead, we should all expect FIFA to create the environment for a complementary balance between domestic and international football for the benefit of the whole game.
The WLF is contacting FIFA to ask for a transparent process for their calendar and competition decisions, which must involve meaningful agreements with the leagues.
We will convene a board meeting in January to review FIFA’s response and assess the impact their proposals could have on the foundations of the game at domestic level.
Jerome Perlemuter, General Secretary, World Leagues Forum
About WLF: The World Leagues Forum is the world association of professional leagues with more than 40 members. Its purpose is to help improve governance structures within world football, represent the leagues and their member clubs to sport and political institutions, and foster cooperation between leagues.
The 44 Members of the WLF:
Asia: Australian Professional Leagues (Australia), Indian Super League (India), J.League (Japan), Malaysian Football League (Malaysia), Qatar Stars League (Qatar), Saudi Professional League (Saudi Arabia), Pro League (United Arab Emirates) - Africa: Egyptian Professional League (Egypt), Ligue de Football Professionnel (Algeria), Pro League (Madagascar), Ligue Nationale de Football Professionnel (Morocco), Nigeria Professional Football League (Nigeria), Premier Soccer League (South Africa), Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (Zimbabwe) - North and Central America: Canadian Premier League (Canada), UNAFUT (Costa Rica), Liga Dominicana de Futbol (Dominican Republic), Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional Honduras (Honduras), Liga MX (Mexico), Liga Panamena de Futbol (Panama), Major League Soccer (USA) - South America: Dimayor (Colombia), LigaPro (Ecuador) - Europe: Pro League (Belgium), Divisionsforeningen (Denmark), Premier League (England), Ligue de Football Professionnel (France), DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (Germany), Super League Greece (Greece), Israeli Professional Football Leagues (Israel), Serie A (Italy), Futbola Virsliga (Latvia), Eredivisie (Netherlands), Ekstraklasa (Poland), Liga Portugal (Portugal), Liga Profesionista de Fotbal (Romania), Scottish Professionnal Football League (Scotland), Super Liga Srbije (Serbia), La Liga (Spain), Foreningen Svensk Elitfotboll (Sweden), Swiss Football League (Switzerland), Ukrainian Premier League (Ukraine), Turkish Union of Clubs (Turkey).