Paris, March 13, 2020 (AFP) - FIFA on Friday recommended that all international football matches scheduled for March and April be postponed due to the spread of the new coronavirus.
Falling short of banning matches outright, world football's governing body said that clubs would be allowed to refuse to send their players to national squad gatherings in March and April.
FIFA also said that it was working on rescheduling qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in both Asia and South America which have been postponed.
"All international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment," FIFA said.
FIFA added that the "final decision" on any postponements "rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies".
FIFA rules normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches, but this rule has been temporarily reversed.
"In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, FIFA has decided that general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the upcoming international windows in March/April," the statement said.