FIFPRO calls for proper negotiation on reforms of International Match Calendar

14 September 2021

FIFPRO today stresses once again that any plans to change the men’s or women’s International Match Calendar must address the players’ concerns such as an expanding workload at the top of the game, the need to protect and improve jobs for the majority of our members around the world and protecting the promising advancement of the women’s professional game. Proposals isolating further expansions such as a biennial World Cup – as well as other competition reforms under discussion – are inadequate in the absence of solutions for existing problems. Without the agreement of the players, who bring all competitions to life on the pitch, no such reforms will have the required legitimacy.

The current debate once again follows a flawed process and approach in which additions to the calendar are debated in the public in the absence of in depth impact assessments, transparent information, and most importantly a commitment to agree improvements for the game in good faith between all stakeholders.

FIFPRO General Secretary, Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, said: “Players have natural physiological limits and an inherent interest in the sustainable advancement of the game: the success of the sport depends on their physical and mental well-being. What we decide at the peak of the game impacts thousands of professionals around the world. Any plans to expand competitions must integrate their collective experience and views. It is also once more frustrating that the specific and fundamental impact on the women’s game is debated as a side-product rather than its own legitimate process with unique needs and opportunities.”

“The lack of genuine dialogue and trust between institutions in football blocks the game’s ability to build more resilience after a painful pandemic, but rather we keep reverting to the same old habits of conflict.”

FIFPRO will examine any proposal for new competitions in the light of its own principles for the advancement of professional football’s competitiveness, diversity and equality which include the following:

  • no competition can be treated in isolation; each one affects all the others, and therefore we will not endorse individual reforms without an overarching review of the men’s and women’s calendar;
  • the growth of the game at the highest level, including international competitions, must not harm but rather spur investment in small and medium-sized leagues, who are the lifeblood of professional football around the world and provide more and better opportunities for players;
  • any expansion of the international calendar must include proper safeguards for the health and well-being of players;
  • ensuring a proper balance between club and country, providing job opportunities and safeguarding the right of players to represent their country, is vital;
  • Reforms of calendar and competitions should provide the necessary space for both women’s and men’s football to develop.

On this basis we are engaging in dialogue with all entities in the game and will meet with FIFA about its reform proposals in the near future.