Aleksander Ceferin hopes talks on new international calendar begin in new year

·3-min read

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin hopes serious discussions on the new international calendar will begin in the new year and says he is “fed up” of proposals being briefed in the media.

The European confederation is steadfastly opposed to the idea of a biennial World Cup, one of the most eye-catching aspects of reform proposals put forward by FIFA’s chief of global football development Arsene Wenger.

He holds out little hope of making significant progress on the new calendar at Monday’s global summit of national associations called by FIFA, where president Gianni Infantino had said he hoped to present a consensus position on the way forward.

Asked whether UEFA could consider a compromise to biennial World Cups, Ceferin said: “It’s very hard to think about any compromise or negotiations if you don’t have any information.

“As much as we know FIFA is still pursuing the (biennial World Cup) project, then some signals are coming from different sides that they might not pursue it till the end.

“We don’t have a particular strategy. For Monday, it will be 211 federations, that means 500 people at the videoconference. I don’t expect something very deep on Monday.

“But we will listen and we’ll see and we’ll act accordingly. But for now, we don’t even have the agenda for Monday. The only thing we know is that it’s called Future of Football, which can mean a lot and can mean nothing.”

Victor Montagliani, the president of CONCACAF which contains countries from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, has suggested a global Nations League or a revival of the Confederations Cup as a compromise.

Ceferin said: “I’m quite fed up of hearing proposals or reading about proposals in the media.

“I might be naive but I still hope that we will start speaking with some documentation, with some concrete proposals, with some serious ideas and not wait until the morning when the newspapers come to see what is the new proposal of some of our colleagues.”

Ceferin was asked if UEFA supported some of the other proposals from Wenger, such as reducing the number of international breaks but playing more matches in those breaks.

“The problem is that everything is interconnected. We get proposals for different competitions and that’s why the discussions about the international match calendar are delayed all the time.

“We didn’t even come to the discussions of the international match calendar because of these ideas coming (in the) usual way through some media.

“We haven’t even started to discuss about the calendar because of all those ideas that happened. I hope that we start discussing about the international match calendar immediately after New Year.”

The PA news agency understands FIFA has been in talks with UEFA on several occasions over the last couple of months, with the most recent meeting taking place on Wednesday.

Discussions were held with UEFA member associations in October, ahead of that month’s FIFA Council meeting.

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