MANCHESTER, England, March 9 (Reuters) – World football’s governing body FIFPRO said the World Cup should not be crammed into the November-December window again and Raphael Varane’s international retirement should ring alarm bells about the sport’s rigged timetable.
FIFPRO’s 2022 World Cup post-competition assessment and player survey was released on Thursday and said the results confirmed concerns about players’ mental and physical fatigue and risk of injury.
Varane helped France reach the World Cup final – then announced on February 3 that he was ending his international career with a “suffocating” schedule.
Varane’s decision should really baffle the tournament organizers. Fans have come to see,” FIFPRO general secretary Jonas Beer-Hoffmann said in a video conference call on Tuesday.
See 2 more stories
“And if they’re making career choices of that drastic nature because of the pressure on them based on their physical and mental health, that’s what we’re warning about.”
Varane had just eight days between the World Cup final and his club debut against Manchester United.
Sixty-four World Cup players were surveyed, and lack of preparation and recovery time and the resulting increase in health problems were the main causes. Only 11% of players surveyed chose the November/December World Cup timing.
Baer-Hoffman said the 2022 replay was unacceptable.
“If you want to pursue the Winter World Cup again, you (the leagues) need to completely change their schedule and give them proper training and recovery time before and after the tournament,” he said. “They’re bound to agree (on that).”
86% of players require at least 14 days of preparation time, with 61% requiring 14 to 28 days of recovery time after the World Cup.
The tight schedule meant that the transition for many European players before the World Cup was only six or seven days. Some players failed to recover from injuries to play in Qatar.
FIFPRO policy adviser Michael Leahy said: “It’s very unfortunate (at the height of his career).
Premier League players have logged the most World Cup minutes, with Manchester City logging the most minutes of any team and Barcelona having the most players (17) at the tournament.
The effect of downtime was also significant. Players ran an average of 1.6 extra kilometers per 11.6 extra hours.
Editing by Lori Ewing. Reporting by Toby Davis
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.