Football clubs may no longer be required to release their players for international duty if they cannot find an agreement with FIFA.
According to the Athletic via Diario AS, FIFA and the European Club Association, have been unable to find an agreement on the Memorandum of Understanding that expires at the end of the year. The current agreement, signed in 2015, runs out at the end of December and dictates that clubs must release their players for international duty, but also compensation for international duty too.
It has been reported that President Gianni Infantino failed to attend a crucial meeting in Doha to get the negotiation over the line. In his place, Deputy Secretary General Matthias Grafstrom went in his place, but did not say a word.
While it is not expected that this will actually affect international football, the next break being in March, it could have consequences for FIFA’s future plans.
Infantino is keen to expand the FIFA Club World Cup from six teams to 32 and have a tournament with the world’s biggest clubs, but further disagreements with the very clubs that he wants there will likely hinder his cause.
As players increasingly complain about the workload being placed on them, the idea of another seven matches will hardly fill them with joy. Finding space in the calendar to delay the World Cup until the winter already caused a number of issues, and working out where to fit those extra matches in will require some expert mathematics.