Top News FIFA To Begin Pilot Test For New Series Of Friendly Match Next Month

World Soccer’s governing body announced on Monday that FIFA is establishing a new series of friendly matches in one site during the international season called the FIFA Series, with a trial project starting in four countries next month.

FIFA will pay for travel expenses, and the series is intended to help national teams that do not have the chance to play teams from other confederations, even though there are no trophies or prize money.

The FIFA Series will have a soft start in four countries: Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Sri Lanka, from March 18–26.

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Each of the four teams will play two matches while residing in the same area.

Some countries have never played teams outside their confederations,” Elkhan Mammadov, FIFA’s Regional Member Associations Director for Europe, told reporters.

“They can gain competitive experience playing teams outside their own confederation, playing teams with a completely different style of play.

“Currently we have 20 teams for the pilot edition. For the 2026 edition we hope to have many more.”

Two groups, intended for nations that have never qualified for the World Cup, will be hosted by Saudi Arabia; however, the matches will not feature the hosts.

The next World Cup (in 2026) will have 48 teams which means you may have many member associations who never played in a World Cup,” said Kenny Jean-Marie, FIFA’s Chief Member Associations Officer.

They may arrive in the U.S., Mexico or Canada with no international experience outside their continent.”
Mammadov stated that in addition to looking into streaming games on the FIFA+ platform, they are actively working on resolving television broadcast deals for the Series.

He clarified that since these events were taking place during the international break, there had been no disputes with confederations over their schedule.

Larger teams may want to compete in the 2026 edition.

“We’ve started discussions with high-ranked teams and they hope to play and even host the next edition in March 2026.

There is interest to host,” he said.

With FIFA only facilitating and not organising the tournaments, Mammadov said they were inviting member associations with their own sponsors on the ground to sponsor the Series.

But if companies approach to sponsor the FIFA Series, FIFA will not close the door,” he added.


Teams: Algeria, Bolivia, Andorra, South Africa

Teams: Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Tanzania, Bulgaria

Teams: Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Central African Republic

Group A: Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guyana, Cambodia

Group B: Guinea, Vanuatu, Bermuda, Brunei

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