FIFA set to scrap August and February friendlies

World governing body FIFA said it had made progress on streamlining the international match calendar on Monday, saying it would recommend a UEFA-backed plan that would abolish unpopular international friendlies in August.

A working group from international confederations, players, clubs and professional leagues met at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich to discuss the post-2014 calendar.

Last week the European Clubs Association (ECA) said it was boycotting the FIFA talks over the calendar, saying progress had been disappointing.

However, FIFA now appears to have taken on board the proposals from European confederation UEFA, publishing a list of recommendations it said would now be submitted to its executive committee for approval at the end of March.

The proposals include a maximum of 18 international matches per nation in a two-year cycle, split into nine double dates in March, September, October and November and every other June.

Getting rid of international friendlies in August would be a major coup for clubs, who object to having to release their players often before they have even started the domestic season.

February friendlies, which are also unpopular because of the crowded domestic schedules at that time, would also have no place in the proposed new calendar.