ENGLAND games on Mondays and Thursdays will become a regular occurrence from 2014 under a major shake-up of the way qualifying matches for major championships are structured.
Fixtures will be grouped into double-headers three days apart and kick-off times harmonised, meaning teams will play on a Thursday and Sunday, Friday and Monday or Saturday and Tuesday, starting with the qualifiers for Euro 2016. Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino said all 53 European national associations had agreed in principle to the changes, which will be part of a re-branding programme called the Week of Football designed to promote the flagging international game.
Broadcast and marketing rights for the fixtures will be sold centrally by Uefa and Infantino said the governing body would be ready to take the revamped format to market in the first quarter of 2012.
“This is an important step to promote national team football and football in general. It is within the framework of the international match calendar. Without harming anyone there will be a great benefit to everyone,” Infantino said at the Leaders in Football conference in London yesterday.
“We have discussed this with all 53 associations and support was unanimous. Of course it has to be passed formally in Uefa commissions but if all are in favour the chances are quite high that this will be the format of the future for national team football.”
Infantino added that the current format, which leaves Saturdays free, had “a very negative impact”.