World Association of Professional Football Leagues
13. August 2021

World Leagues Forum’s statement: FIFA’s unilateral amendments to the calendar and health regulations shall not be imposed on leagues, clubs and players.

The World Leagues Forum, which represents 40 professional football leagues around the world has been informed that Fifa unilaterally amended the international match calendar to reschedule South American’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers due to be played in March 2021.

Source: Unsplash / Nathan Rogers
Image: Unsplash/Nathan Rogers

Fifa has decided to extend the September and October 2021 international periods by 2 days to allow Conmebol to schedule 3 matches instead of 2.

In parallel, Fifa has also unilaterally decided not to extend the exception on the obligation to release players when there is a quarantine obligation on their return to their clubs.

Now, if South American players join with their national team in September and October (which by FIFA regulations they are obliged to) they will miss games with their clubs, either because of the calendar amendments, or because of a potential quarantine. And if they don’t want to miss games with their clubs, they cannot go play with their national team.

These decisions of Fifa will negatively impact national professional leagues, clubs, players and fans. Leagues and their clubs must meet with onerous contractual requirements, also ensuring health and safety, and careful planning of fixtures. Permitting unilateral changes to an established international match calendar disrespects these arrangements.

As a governing body, FIFA should be trying to find the best solution for the entire football community. Instead, FIFA has decided to impose the worst possible option with practically no notice. This poses an obvious governance issue which will have to be addressed.

As for the upcoming international windows, clubs cannot be obliged to release their players in such circumstances. As a consequence, professional football leagues will fully support clubs refusing to release their players and players refusing to go in case there is a quarantine with the country concerned and more generally if they do not want to miss national competitions.

WLF Media contact:
Jerome Perlemuter, General Secretary, World Leagues Forum
jperlemuter@WorldLeaguesForum.com
Website: www.WorldLeaguesForum.com

Note to editors:
The WLF is the world association of professional football leagues. It includes 40 Leagues from around the World (listed below). Its purpose is to improve governance structures in world football, address the issues of professional football and foster cooperation between its members. www.worldleaguesforum.com

Asian Football Confederation (AFC):
J LEAGUE (Japan), QATAR STARS LEAGUE (Qatar), SAUDI PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE (Saudi Arabia), MALAYSIA LLP (Malaysia), AUSTRALIAN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (Australia), UAE PRO LEAGUE (United Arab Emirates), INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE (India)

Confederation of African Football (CAF):
LIGUE DE FOOTBALL PROFESSIONNEL (Algeria), PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE (South Africa), NIGERIA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (Nigeria), ZIMBABWE PREMIER SOCCER LEAGUE (Zimbabwe), LIGUE NATIONALE DE FOOTBALL PROFESSIONNEL (Morocco)

Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF):
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER (USA), LIGA MX (Mexico), LIGA NACIONAL DE FÚTBOL PROFESIONAL HONDURAS (Honduras), UNAFUT COSTA RICA (Costa Rica), LIGA PANAMENA DE FUTBOL (Panama), LIGA DOMINICANA DE FUTBOL (Dominican Republic)

South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL):
DIMAYOR (Colombia), LIGAPRO (Ecuador)

Union of European Football Associations (UEFA):
SERIE A (Italy), LA LIGA (Spain), BUNDESLIGA (Germany), LIGUE DE FOOTBALL PROFESSIONNEL (France), PREMIER LEAGUE (England), EREDIVISIE (Netherlands), DIVISIONSFORENINGEN (Denmark), FORENINGEN SVENSK ELITFOTBOLL (Sweden), LIGA PORTUGUESA DE FUTEBOL PROFISSIONAL (Portugal), SWISS FOOTBALL LEAGUE (Switzerland), SCOTTISH PROFESSIONNAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (Scotland), EKSTRAKLASA (Poland), SUPER LIGA SRBIJE (Serbia), UKRAINIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (Ukraine), ISRAELI PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUES (Israel), LIGA PROFESIONISTA DE FOTBAL (Romania), PRO LEAGUE (Belgium), RUSSIAN PREMIER LEAGUE (Russia), TURKISH CLUBS UNION (Turkey), SUPER LEAGUE GREECE (Greece)