July 31 – The international players’ union FIFPro says that at least 15 players who performed at the World Cup have taken part in UEFA club competitions less than four weeks after returning from Russia – not nearly enough time, it says, to recuperate properly.
FIFpro reiterated its call for a mandatory rest period of at least four weeks between the final game of one season and the start of pre-season training for the next.
“Players are coming under too much pressure, caught between the needs of their clubs and their own personal well-being,” said the union in a statement.
“While FIFPro understands the financial implications of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for clubs, the health of these players is being put at risk because of such a congested match schedule.”
The first round of qualifying for this season’s Champions League began on July 10, even earlier than the World Cup final, while the bigger clubs are on lucrative overseas tours.
On Sunday Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said his team’s World Cup participants should actually consider cutting their holidays short. Several players from United’s first-choice starting line-up, including Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard could miss the opening league fixture against Leicester City in less than two weeks’ time.
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