UEFA announced that qualifying matches for the European Championship or World Cup will be played across six days between Thursdays and Tuesdays starting from 2014 in order to maximise TV coverage and broadcast income.
This ambitious plans to reshape the international football calendar coincides with the UEFA taking on responsibility for centrally marketing the TV rights for international qualifiers for its 53 member countries from 2014, it plans to play them across six days.
The move will see players having just two days rest between matches in World Cup and European Championship double-headers, across what is being dubbed “The Weekend of Football”.
Teams will play either Thursdays and Sundays, Fridays and Mondays, or Saturdays and Tuesdays. As from 2010, double-headers are currently played on Fridays and Tuesdays rather than Saturdays and Wednesdays.
The plan must be agreed by UEFA’s Executive Committee but Europe’s national associations are in favour.
“This has been unanimously supported by all 53 national associations,” Infantino said. “The chances are quite high this will be the format of football in the future. The week of football is a new concept to promote national team football.”
Mr Infantino also introduced the concept of the week of football within the existing framework of the international match calendar. “Today nearly all national team matches are on Friday and Tuesday,” he said.
“The Tuesday date was agreed with the clubs and is unlikely to be changed. However, when you have the national team not playing on weekends it is a pity. If we leave the weekends to other sports, we believe it will have a negative impact on football. The appointments of matches will come from Thursday through to Tuesday. Especially during the weekends, we want to have national team matches played across Europe. This is important to promote national team football, [and] football overall.”