Tuesday October 3, 2023

World Cup Players Voice Concerns Over Schedule

  • Only 11% of World Cup players surveyed favored the November/December World Cup timing.
  • If Saudi Arabia's bid to host the 2030 World Cup is successful, another winter tournament is expected.
Players from Argentina and France before the World Cup Final match in December.
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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As FIFA wants more from players, the players themselves want less from FIFA.

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar raised concerns over player fatigue and injury risk from the global players’ union FIFPRO since it took place in the winter months due to desert weather. Some European players had only six or seven days between the Qatar competition and returning to their home clubs.

On Thursday, FIFPRO released the results of a survey from players at the World Cup.  

  • 86% of players want at least 14 days of preparation time.
  • 61% want 14-28 days of post-World Cup recovery time.
  • Only 11% of the players favored the November/December World Cup timing.

After the 2022 tournament, France’s Raphael Varane announced his retirement over a “suffocating” schedule.

“[Varane’s] decision should really, really make competition organizers nervous, because it’s ultimately those players who are on the field creating the game, they’re creating the product that is being sold by everybody,” said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO general secretary. 

If Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup is successful, another winter tournament is expected. 

The timing of the World Cup isn’t the only concern FIFA is raising for players.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino reportedly wants a triennial World Cup after the 2022 edition delivered record revenue of $7.5 billion. 

The governing body also plans to expand the 2025 Club World Cup to 32 teams, a move against which La Liga has voiced its opposition for not considering the health and well-being of players.

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