LONDON (AP) – UEFA members have agreed to a scheduling overhaul that would see international matches played on six consecutive days, general secretary Gianni Infantino said Wednesday.
Currently, international double-headers are usually played on Fridays and Tuesdays, but UEFA's 53 member nations have backed a plan for tournament qualifiers to be spread from Thursdays to Tuesdays.
Infantino said that will prevent other sports from exploiting the absence of football on Saturdays during international windows as well as maximizing television coverage.
''The week of football is somewhat of a new concept to promote national team football,'' Infantino said at the Leaders in Football conference. ''The chances are quite high this will be the format of football in the future ... if we leave the weekend to other sports in the medium and long term it will be damaging.''
UEFA centralized control of commercial rights earlier this year and this move will help European football's governing body sell the television rights to its members' qualifiers since matches won't be bunched on single days.
''We will go to the market in the first quarter of next year (to sell the rights),'' Infantino said. ''With the week of football you can offer many more opportunities to the broadcasters.''
While the change was unanimously approved by UEFA's 53 members in Cyprus last month, it would still need to be ratified by UEFA's executive committee.