Last updated : 24 September 2004 By editor

'The Football Committee and Technical and Development Committee of world soccer's ruling body met on Thursday in Zurich to discuss the sport's co-ordinated match calendar.

"The view of the technical experts in world football is very clear -- players, especially internationals, are taking part in too many matches," FIFA said in a statement.

Both committees agreed that there should be a longer preparation period for the next World Cup, with a proposal to end 2005-06 European domestic seasons by May 14 before the June 9 start of the tournament in Germany.

The meeting was chaired by FIFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar Llona and Executive Committee member Michel Platini.

It was also proposed to bring the finals of UEFA club competitions in 2006 forward by one week, with the UEFA Cup final on May 10 instead of May 17 and the Champions League final on May 17 instead of May 24.

FIFA believes the performances of top players have fallen below expectations in recent international tournaments.

"As a likely consequence of the increase in matches, the performances of top players fell below expectations in both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004," the ruling body said.

Both committees supported proposals to reduce the number of matches played by clubs each season.'

There will still be loads of brand-boosting pre-season tours though eh?