Chelsea would lose up to eight first-team players next season under new FIFA international duty changes
Frank Lampard is set to lose more Chelsea players in addition to Edouard Mendy and Hakim Ziyech in 2022 under new FIFA changes.
The Blues head coach is already set to be without the aforementioned duo for up to a month next season after Senegal and Morocco respectively qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations this week.
That is a competition that has been included in the January 2022 window – and because this is an official FIFA window, Chelsea are set to lose Mendy, Ziyech, and all non-European players to international duty.
In August, the governing football body replaced the September 2020 international match window, which was due to take place from August 31 to September 8 this year, with a window now taking place from January 24 to February 1, 2022 for all confederations except UEFA.
For the Blues, that means every player from outside of Europe and under the jurisdiction of UEFA will go and play for their respective nations.
As things stand right now, in terms of first-team players, Christian Pulisic would go away with the USA in addition to Mendy and Ziyech representing Senegal and Morocco respectively.
Technically, Willy Caballero is still eligible to play for Argentina as he’s not officially retired, while the likes of Thiago Silva and Kenedy (Brazil), Baba Rahman (Ghana) and Victor Moses (Nigeria) would be unavailable if still at the club next season.
That is a minimum of three and a maximum of eight first-team squad members who would be unavailable for Lampard during the international window.
An official statement reads: “In addition to the previous decisions by the FIFA Council, the Bureau of the Council has unanimously approved a set of further changes to the men’s and women’s international match calendars in response to the global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which persists in most parts of the world.
“These changes follow a thorough consultation process with the confederations and football stakeholders.
“This process resulted in proposals via the FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group that maintain the previously agreed principle that a tailor-made and flexible approach between confederations is required, reflecting the varied circumstances of the pandemic across the world.
“The main changes are the following:
Men’s international match calendar
- to replace the window from 31 August to 8 September 2020 with a window from 24 January to 1 February 2022 for all confederations except UEFA. This means that there is no mandatory release of players for member associations from these confederations in September 2020;
- to include the new period of January 2022 for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), with the exact dates to be determined at a later stage; and
- to include the new dates of the Concacaf Gold Cup 2021 (preliminary rounds from 2 to 6 July 2021 and final tournament from 10 July to 1 August 2021) with a mandatory release starting on 28 June 2021.
“The FIFA-Confederations COVID-19 Working Group will continue to monitor the situation in each confederation and if required make additional proposals to the FIFA Council.
“The latest version of both the Men’s and Women’s International Match Calendars are now available on FIFA.com.”
Given that many clubs would lose players during this period, one possible scenario is for European football to take a break from 24 January to 1 February to lessen the blow.
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