The soccer news starts with more from UEFA, this time announcing a memorandum of understanding with the European Club Association. The biggest point for those of us outside Europe is a focus on the international calendar after 2024. The current version of the international calendar that removed single match windows was in large part due to pressure from Europe. The double matchday calendar isn't popular with European leagues for the obvious reason. It almost immediately disrupts the start of the club schedule with the September window.
What Europe will push for after 2024 is an open question. What we now know is that UEFA and the clubs are unified on changing it. From their memorandum:
E.6 The Parties agree to work together to further improve the football calendar after 2024, in a strategic and holistic perspective, taking the overall future scenarios of European football into account in a way which is beneficial for the balanced development of football as a whole, between domestic and European, club and national team competitions. The key objectives of this review will be: enhanced harmonisation and separation between club and national team competitions; general release of pressure on the calendar, allowing for proper rest and training periods for players.
The European Club Association has a deal with FIFA for the release of players that expires at the end of the current World Cup cycle. The ECA makes it clear that without renewing that deal, European clubs are under no obligation to release players, specifically players to non-European national teams. Right now, that's a bargaining position but it's an interesting stance for European soccer to take.
FIFA has pushed Europe with the rescheduling necessary for the 2022 World Cup. How that plays out should determine their ongoing relationship when it comes to figuring out the future of the international match release windows.
Inside World Football's Paul Nicholson reports on the other big issue for FIFA and Europe, support for FIFA's plan for revamped and new tournaments.
Also in the soccer news, Eintracht's official site has an interview with USMNT defender Timmy Chandler who has resumed training. "I’m pleased that I was able to train without pain with the rest of the team for the past two weeks. I’m making progress every day, but we’ll have to see about everything else. As soon as the coach feels I’m capable of playing, I’ll be there."
The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson previews Sunday's Manchester City vs Chelsea game.
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