Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Report: UEFA seeks curb on friendlies
LIMASSOL, Cyprus -- European soccer's governing body will ask FIFA to scrap the August dates for exhibition games on the international calendar, two officials with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an announcement by UEFA president Michel Platini is not expected until Thursday.
Europe's 53 national federations agreed to the proposal in a meeting to discuss changes to the soccer calendar, which dictates when clubs must release players for international duty. European clubs have pressed UEFA and FIFA to drop August internationals, describing them as "nonsense" matches that disrupt training for the season.
National coaches, including France's Laurent Blanc, also have spoken out against the games, which allow squads barely 48 hours for preparations.
UEFA members concluded a two-day strategy session Wednesday with the international calendar and structure of national team competitions at top of their agenda.
However, the officials told the AP that federations want to maintain the number of days players must report to national teams each year.
UEFA will propose playing 18 matches, in nine double-header fixture blocks, over each two-year cycle of qualification matches for a World Cup or European Championship, the officials said.
FIFA is also consulting world soccer's five other continental bodies before agreeing to a calendar of international match dates from 2015 to 2018. FIFA, however, can choose to remove August slots from the current schedule before it expires in 2014.