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I read today that the second friendly match between India and Palestine, scheduled for the 8th of October, has been cancelled because there is a FIFA regulation saying that a team can play no more than 2 friendly games in an official FIFA international match window (Palestine are already slated to play against Pakistan as well). I confess that this is a new one to me, but presumably it means that if a country plays 3 friendlies then one becomes a non-FIFA international. This window Uzbekistan are due to play Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE. The same squad has been picked for all 3 games. Which one is the non-FIFA game? This may eventually be solved for us by the number of subs used, I suppose. Qatar do have a tendency to use more than 6 in their friendly matches.
Technically that ruling isn't new. In FIFA's international match calendar, it has always listed the number of games allowed per window. I guess they've just made it "official" back in August. When Palestine's friendlies with Pakistan were announced and then listed on FIFA.com, I actually sent FIFA a message regarding their "new" rule and should be applied to Palestine. As they applied it for the Philippines for their Peace Cup. Perhaps they got the memo and passed it on to the Palestine FA but forgot to send it to Uzbekistan. Anyway...
A FIFA Directive that's ridiculous? Surely, not! As this only applies to friendly matches, it means that the Caribbean Cup is going ahead with the teams playing three matches in 6 days, whilst Palestine couldn't play 3 games in in te same period. It means that the Peace Cup and the Long Teng Cup will now struggle (not necessarily a bad thing for statisticians, but some of the teams that play in them could definitely use the match practice), whilst at the same time FIFA sponsored competitions can flout this ruling. FIFA claim that they want to promote the game in the lesser nations. Surely with all the difficulties they face actually getting their team together Palestine deserve some help rather than hindrance. (Yes, I know that Palestine is not technically a nation, but we're talking in footballing terms here.) Still, as long as they can get some nice new watches (thank you, Sunday Times, for exposing that little scandal) and various other goodies I don't suppose the FIFA execs are too worried.
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