Thursday 23 September 2021, 08:00

Grant: New match calendar must give coaches the chance to build

  • International match calendar under review, with nothing decided from 2024 onwards

  • Avram Grant calls for an end to stop-start calendar

  • Former Israel coach says reform proposals a ‘win-win’ for clubs and national teams

Avram Grant has called for changes to the international match calendar, saying that the status quo is “a nightmare” for coaches and that proposals for reform would be beneficial for clubs, national teams and players at any level.

Grant asserts that coaches need time to work with their players in order to build teams and the former Israel and Ghana national team coach added that removing meaningless matches from the schedules of high-class athletes can benefit all concerned in football.

“To receive players three or four days before the game, like it is now – and sometimes players always miss the first training sessions after their flights: it’s really a nightmare,” said Grant. “It’s not good as a national team coach because you cannot build anything.

“The suggestion here is to make it for a longer period of time and that’s fantastic for the coach and the players. For me, it gives me the opportunity to build a team, to develop them and give them ideas. I can tell you that I started every meeting showing them the highlights or the things to improve from the last [international] game, because I don’t know if the game’s still in their mind.”

Avram Grant talks to FIFA President Gianni Infantino and former New Zealand captain Ryan Nelsen

The opinions of the main protagonists in football are being canvassed as part of a wide-ranging consultation process into the future of men’s football, being led by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger.

FIFA is facilitating debate into how the match calendar should look from 2024 with a view to optimising the schedule for all stakeholders, listening to a wide range of views before making proposals. The review was requested by the overwhelming majority of FIFA’s member associations at the 71st FIFA Congress to make the calendar more appropriate for the modern day.

“When I was a child, friendly matches were very nice and very exciting because there were no other competitions. Now, in qualification, let’s be honest, [there are] some boring games, you know the players don’t like it, the coaches don’t like it, and the fans don’t like it. So, if we have more meaningful games, it’s fantastic.”