The drastic new measure FIFA is considering to allow Portsmouth & Co to finish season
FIFA are considering scrapping international football until 2021 in order to allow the 2019-20 season to be completed – with domestic football viewed as ‘a priority’ by the governing body.
Currently three international windows are scheduled to go ahead in the latter half of this year, with six fixtures scheduled for September, October and November.
But FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani – who is leading a working group dealing with the scheduling problems posed by the coronavirus outbreak – has warned the governing body could take the drastic step of cancelling these fixtures in order to ensure the domestic campaign is completed.
Such a move would free-up at least three weekends in which domestic fixtures could be completed – whether that be outstanding 2019-20 fixtures or a delayed 2020-21 campaign.
This season, Pompey had their game against Southend on September 7 postponed due to international call-ups for Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland), Craig MacGillivray (Scotland) and Ross McCrorie (Scotland under-21s).
Meanwhile, the Blues’ match against Fleetwood on November 16 also had to be rearranged due to three members of the Cod Army squad being selected for international duty.
FIFA are also conscious of the impacts of long-distance travel so quickly after the outbreak.
When asked by Associated Press whether international fixtures were likely to be played before 2021, Montagliani said: ‘I personally think that might be a bit of a challenge, not so much because of just the health issues around the world and the various degrees of preparedness, but also committing to international travel as soon as we come back.
‘I think that domestic football is a priority.
‘September is still in the books, but I would garner to say that I'm not sure it's there on solid ground the way things are trending right now.’
International fixtures set for March and June have already been cancelled, and are yet to be rearranged.