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FIFA move a step closer to allowing domestic matches to be played abroad

FIFA has moved a step closer to allowing domestic matches to be played outside of their home country. European football’s main governing body have formed a new working group to “issue recommendations” on the subject, according to Paul MacInnes of The Guardian.

Independent group discuss possibility of domestic matches held abroad

The new group was formed following a FIFA council meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday, May 15. Included in the independent group will be 10 to 15 individuals with experience in the game who will assess a series of principles concerning the positive and negative aspects of domestic matches internationally.

The first of these principles was that the group must regard fairness “including adequacy of advance notice to fans who may miss the opportunity to attend a home or away match in the home territory”. Another one is “whether adequate provision has been made for fans of the teams playing a proposed out-of-territory match to attend the match in the host country.”

European leagues push forward with plans

In April 2024, La Liga president Javier Tebas announced that league matches in the Spanish top flight could take place in the United States as soon as the 2025/26 season. This followed a court settlement between Relevent Sports and FIFA, prompting the governing body to state that the agreement was “pending …consideration of changes to existing Fifa policies with respect to playing official season games outside of a league’s home territory”.

MacInnes also revealed that “other leagues are more interested in tapping into international interest, while top clubs are broadly understood to be keen to maximise the revenue that could come from overseas opportunities.”

‘FIFA wonder why people don’t trust them’ – FSA condemns FIFA

The Football Supporters’ Association openly criticised the idea of holding a domestic league match in a different country on X.com (formerly Twitter). They said: “FIFA trying to stitch up overseas league games by setting up a working group which must “assume a positive decision to stage matches internationally.” And FIFA wonder why people don't trust them?”

Back in 2008, the Premier League proposed a “Game 39” to be held outside England, preferably in the USA. However, these proposals were scrapped in 2010 following opposition from FIFA. It is worth noting, though, that a friendly tournament in the USA began last summer ahead of the 2023/24 season.


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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