FIFA Council approves international match calendars

The FIFA Council met in advance of the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, and adopted several key decisions, particularly in relation to the future of men’s and women’s competitions, for which the respective international match calendars were unanimously approved following a detailed consultation process.

Men’s International Match Calendar 2025-2030

The Men’s International Match Calendar 2025-2030 will be structured as follows:
• March: a nine-day, two-match window
• June: a nine-day, two-match window (including friendlies in preparation of final tournaments where appropriate)
• Late September/early October: a 16-day, four-match window (to be introduced as of 2026, with two nine-day, two-match windows to be retained in September and October 2025)
• November: a nine-day, two-match window

Women’s International Match Calendar 2024-2025

As per the current calendar, the Women’s International Match Calendar 2024-2025 will contain six international windows per year. Some of these windows will include a variety of window types to enable the confederations to deliver their specific competition qualification pathways and to enable the member associations to play friendly matches.

The FIFA Council also unanimously approved the establishment of a dedicated task force on player welfare to ensure the smooth implementation of player welfare principles such as mandatory rest periods. “FIFA promoted a truly global approach to the discussions on the International Match Calendar, which considered the perspectives of all key stakeholders,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “Our fundamental objective is to have clarity on this topic, and to have meaningful football matches while protecting the well-being of the players and recognising that many regions need more competitive football.”

FIFA World Cup 2026 competition format

Based on a thorough review that considered sporting integrity, player welfare, team travel, commercial and sporting attractiveness, as well as team and fan experience, the FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposed amendment to the FIFA World Cup 2026 competition format from 16 groups of three to 12 groups of four with the top two and eight best third-placed teams progressing to a round of 32. The revised format mitigates the risk of collusion and ensures that all the teams play a minimum of three matches, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams.