December 6, 2021

International breaks 2020-21: When are they, what competitions are there & can fans go to football matches?

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With Euro 2020, the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations postponed in 2020, the international calendar has undergone some changes

The international break schedule for the 2020-21 season has been confirmed, with plenty of fixtures arranged between the world’s top national sides.

The coronavirus pandemic severely disrupted the men’s international calendar in 2020, with Euro 2020, the Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations all postponed.

In June, FIFA announced a worldwide Covid-19 relief plan which included some changes to the international schedule.

When are the 2020-21 season international breaks?

There are four international breaks planned for the 2020-21 season, scheduled around the following weekends:

  • September 5-6
  • October 10-11
  • November 14-15
  • March 27-28

The September international break has already passed, but there were no fixtures played outside of Europe.

FIFA’s coronavirus response included the cancellation of the September international window for the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and the OFC.

CONMEBOL countries had been slated to begin their World Cup qualifying campaigns but these fixtures were eventually cancelled.

Which international tournaments are being played in 2020-21?

The first two matchdays of the UEFA Nations League went ahead in September. Some of the more notable results saw both France and Portugal thrash Croatia, Italy win away at the Netherlands, Germany draw 1-1 with Spain, and England scrape past Iceland with a last-minute Raheem Sterling penalty.

The October and November international breaks were extended by an extra day for UEFA countries to allow teams to play three games rather than the usual two. England, for example, will play a friendly match with Wales as well as their Nations League clashes with Belgium and Denmark.

World Cup qualifying will resume in South America and Asia in October, but CONCACAF has decided not to begin its qualifying schedule until the March international break. CONCACAF and African countries will play international friendlies in October, in some cases their first international fixtures of 2020.

Qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, which has been postponed until January 2022, will resume in the November international break. The CAF World Cup qualifiers will resume in May 2021, after the postponed 2020 AFCON finals which start in January.

World Cup qualifying for UEFA countries will begin in March 2021, once Nations League qualifying is complete.

Can fans attend international fixtures?

UEFA has announced that fans will be able to return to stadiums for European international fixtures where local laws permit. Stadiums can be filled to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity, and no away fans will be permitted to travel to fixtures.