ECA Media Release

The COVID-19 crisis has inflicted significant disruption in all areas relating to the management of the professional game. This is especially true of the IMC which is at the heart of the planning for both Club and National Team Football.

Over recent weeks, with football having been placed on hold, detailed, collaborative discussions coordinated by FIFA have taken place between stakeholders to reshape the calendar for the recovery of club and international competitions. This is a challenging exercise given that the calendar has become extremely compressed and that players must be afforded the necessary rest periods.

As a result of these discussions, the FIFA Council has today presented a proposal for managing the IMC until the next World Cup in 2022, a direction which ECA welcomes and endorses and which builds on the decision back in March to postpone the EURO and COPA AMERICA to 2021, providing space for the completion of the domestic and international 2019/20 club season.

Despite the challenging circumstances, ECA has expressed its support for the current IMC to be maintained with no further proliferation of release windows and that re-scheduling of matches should only concern competitive games, not friendlies. In the weeks ahead, we look forward to working in collaboration with key stakeholders, and especially the players union FIFPRO, to establish together with the relevant governing bodies reasonable guidelines for player release. These guidelines would cover the entire emergency period starting with the September 2020 international window to take into account the unique challenges clubs are faced with in light of the COVID-19 crisis calendar and its impact on player welfare.

ECA believes that the approach presented today offers a workable way forward in managing the IMC providing the balance required in ensuring and meeting the needs of Club and National Team Football and offering the protection players require to perform to the best of their abilities.