Saudi Arabia to co-host FIFA’s new 20-team international tournament

By Shyam
3 Min Read
FIFA World Cup

FIFA has announced that Saudi Arabia will co-host a brand-new international competition.

Supporters of international football are starting to anticipate this summer’s European Championship and Copa America, with the Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup having completed.

Fans will have to wait a bit to witness international teams compete, as the next World Cup is not until 2026.

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However, FIFA has some good news for those who are itching to see something a little different. At the end of March, a brand-new competition named the FIFA Series will be tested. Twenty clubs will play friendlies in five groups of four.

Every game in every group will be played in one spot; two groups will be hosted by Saudi Arabia, and one each by Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Sri Lanka.

The three UEFA teams competing in the trial are Andorra, Bulgaria, and Azerbaijan. In addition to a match against the hosts, Minnows Andorra will also play three friendlies in Algeria: matches against Bolivia and South Africa.

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Tanzania, Bulgaria, and Mongolia will be up against another host, Azerbaijan. Saudi Arabian group members Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation ranked 170th in the world by FIFA, will compete.

“The FIFA Series is a really positive step forward for national-team football at global level,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

“Our member associations have been telling us for a long time now of their desire to test themselves against their counterparts from all around the world. And now they can do so within the current Men’s International Match Calendar.

“More meaningful matches will enable far more valuable footballing interaction for players, teams and fans, and will make a concrete contribution to the development of the game.”

The group stage lineup is as follows:

FIFA Series Algeria: Algeria, South Africa, Bolivia, Andorra.

FIFA Series Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Tanzania.

FIFA Series Saudi Arabia A: Cape Verde, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana.

FIFA Series Saudi Arabia B: Bermuda, Brunei, Guinea, Vanuatu.

FIFA Series Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Bhutan, Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea.

By Shyam
Shyam Sharma who joined SPORTS BIG NEWS in 2021. Focuses on soccer – chiefly the Premier League, LaLiga, UEFA Champions League, Liga MX and MLS. On occasion, also covers American sports, general news and entertainment. Fascinated by the language of sport – particularly the under-appreciated art of translating cliché-speak.