FIFA announce World Cup 2026 date, set new tournament format, calendar

New Delhi: The Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA) Council approved the new international match calendar and set the date for the 2026 FIFA World Cup final on Tuesday (March 14)

FIFA announce World Cup 2026 final date

According to the men’s international match schedule 2025-2030, starting in 2026, a 16-day, four-match window will be introduced in late September/early October, as well as a nine-day, two-match window in March, June, and November. The 2026 FIFA World Cup final will take place on July 19, 2026.

Following the approval of the latest men’s and women’s international match calendars, the FIFA Council also unanimously approved the establishment of a dedicated task force on player welfare.

— FIFA (@FIFAcom) March 14, 2023

Key decisions 

According to Xinhua news agency, the FIFA Council met ahead of the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, and took several key decisions, particularly affecting the future of the men’s and women’s competitions.

FIFA chance World Cup format

The council agreed unanimously to change the format of the 2026 FIFA World Cup from 16 groups of three to 12 groups of four, with the top two and eight best third-placed teams advancing to the round of 32.

The number of matches increased from 64 to 104 for the 2022 event in Qatar. The top two teams in each group, as well as the top eight third-placed teams, proceed to the knockout stage in a new Round of 32. Third-place teams were no longer advanced when the tournament expanded from 24 to 32 teams in 1998.

International women’s match schedule

The 2024-2025 women’s international match calendar will have six international windows every year. The women’s football competition at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris will take place from July 25 to August 10. The FIFA Council also approved the formation of a special task group on player welfare, among other things.

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