New approach boosts international game

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino feels the 'Week of Football' concept showcased in the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers is "great news for football fans and for football".

Gianni Infantino

The UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino has said UEFA's new 'Week of Football' concept, in which European Qualifiers will be spread over six days from Thursday to Tuesday, will help reinvigorate national team football.

Speaking after the UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Nyon today, Mr Infantino stated: "As part of UEFA's drive to improve the quality and appeal of national team football, the Week of Football will see a fresh new approach to international football starting with the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers and continuing with subsequent European Qualifiers."

The Week of Football will mean national team matches take place over six days from Thursday to Tuesday. Each day of the Week of Football will provide eight to ten matches as opposed to 20–30 games on the same day. Kick-off times will be set largely at 18.00CET and 20.45CET on Saturdays and Sundays and at 20.45CET for Thursdays, Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays. On double-header matchweeks, teams will play on Thursday and Sunday, or Friday and Monday, or Saturday and Tuesday

The Week of Football will also enable fans to watch national team football at the weekend. For UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, only 26 matches (out of 245) were held on Saturdays and Sundays – with the Week of Football, at least 33% of fixtures will be played on weekends (this was 10% for UEFA EURO 2012), giving fans more opportunity to follow the action.

Mr Infantino added: "Supporters will get the chance to attend and watch more national team matches than ever before. Broadcasters will get more games and more appointments to view. National associations will a consistent schedule and stable revenue. And national team football will get greater exposure than before. This is great news for football fans and for football."

By previously having matches on the same night and concurrent kick-off times, supporters could only watch one live game per night. Now, with multiple kick-off times and a spread of matches across the Week of Football, broadcasters will be offering at least four times as many live opportunities, allowing fans to see matches from around Europe.

In the interest of fairness, sides will play a similar amount of games on each day of the Week of Football; and in the interests of fans, the matches of top teams will be spread over the Week of Football so supporters can watch – for example – Italy on Thursday, Germany on Friday, and Spain on Saturday.