Infantino refuses to rule out 39th game approval

The Uefa general secretary has insisted that the proposal to take matches abroad will not be immediately thrown out until it is properly discussed

Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino has refused to rule out national associations being allowed to take league fixtures around the world, although he says he does not think the current model will change.

The English Premier League has been rumoured to be reviewing plans to relocate one round of fixtures per season to various venues across the globe.

But while Uefa was in opposition previously, Infantino insisted at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London that all proposals need to be discussed before a final decision is made.

“I think these kind of ideas and proposals are at the table every now and then and have to be discussed,” Infantino stated.

“It depends on what the conclusions are and what it would look like as there are some associations who play – for example – a Super Cup in Asia and so on, which is part of this wish to export on an international level.

“Now we just have to bear in mind that we have structures in place through Fifa, the confederations, national associations and so on, and whenever these kind of things are discussed we have to act in a responsible way.

“So let’s see. I don’t think it will change, but it will have to be discussed.”

Infantino also lauded the arrival of the Uefa Nations League in 2018-19, which he claims will move the game forward at both domestic and international level.

“It’s the logical development of the discussions we had with the associations, the clubs and the leagues in relation to the match calendar.

“What we have seen is that there is an interest in the qualifiers, but the interest for the friendly games is getting lower and lower,” he explained.

“Our focus is on boosting the interest in all matches, but how do you boost interest and develop players if you know that they will lose every match anyway?

“We need to give them chances to win, and by setting up the Uefa Nations League and ranking the teams according to their sporting results with promotion and relegation, you are playing for something and competing for something, and you create a new Nations League champion every second year.

“You create a new and additional element to international games. It doesn’t devalue the European Championship, it just creates a new stimulus.

“It creates a new interest which actually is a win-win for everyone. It is a decision of the 54 Uefa associations, as agreed at the last Uefa Congress.”

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