FIFA-funded series of friendly tournaments launched with 20 nations, across four host venues

February 27 – Global governing body FIFA has launched a new series of friendly matches, piloting the first edition of the ‘FIFA Series’ in March, in a bid to offer more “meaningful action” to smaller nations.

The idea for the series was first floated in December 2022 and on Monday – the day that marked the eighth anniversary of FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s reign at FIFA – the global governing body announced that the first edition of the FIFA Series will take place from March 18 to March 26.

“This is a great opportunity to enable member associations that do not have regular opportunities to play against teams from other confederations,” said Elkhan Mammadov, FIFA’s director of European member associations.

In the pilot scheme, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia will host the matches with 20 sides from all six confederations. The Saudis will not participate because of obligations in the World Cup qualifiers.

The first iteration has a modest and ‘low key’ lineup, but Zurich is hoping to build the series into a bigger, more recognisable event on a biennial basis. Mammadov said FIFA has started “discussions with high-ranked teams”.

FIFA will cover travel costs for the March edition and said that they are working on fixing television broadcast deals and are open to taking new sponsors on board. FIFA also emphasised that the series will offer nations hosting experience, in particular Saudi Arabia.

Algeria

Teams: Algeria, Bolivia, Andorra, South Africa

Azerbaijan 

Teams: Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Tanzania, Bulgaria

Sri Lanka

Teams: Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Central African Republic

Saudia Arabia

Group A: Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Cambodia

Group B: Guinea, Vanuatu, Bermuda, Brunei

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