WLF will back clubs and players who refuse to participate in Conmebol’s 2022 qualifiers

By Paul Nicholson

August 16 – The World Leagues Forum (WLF) has slammed FIFA’s decision to amend the international match calendar without consultation and which has seen the rescheduling of South America’s FIFA World Cup qualifiers that had originally been due to be played in March 2021 to extended triple match windows in September and March.

The WLF in a statement said “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.”

FIFA sad it had extended the September and October international windows by two days allowing Conmebold to get three games into the wondow, instead of the usual two, allowing the catch-up of the missed March games.

However, this means that players will be away from their clubs for longer and hence miss scheduled club matches. The FIFA international window makes player releases by clubs mandatory.

The WLF, which represents 40 professional football leagues worldwide, said that FIFA’s decision to enforce mandatory release of players and not extend an exception to mandatory release if there are quarantine obligations, is unfair on players and clubs.

“These decisions of FIFA will negatively impact national professional leagues, clubs, players and fans,” said a WLF statement. “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.”

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