FIFPro medical chief call for limit on international matches and dropping of friendlies

October 27 – With the match calendar more congested than ever, FIFPRO and their chief medical officer Vincent Gouttebarge have argued for the need to limit international football for the time being.

Gouttebarge, a former player himself, points at governmental advice everywhere to limit teams traveling to back up his point.

“That is not recommended for nothing,” said Gouttebarge. “It would therefore be better not to play certain friendly international matches. Those matches are also very difficult for the clubs. They have invested to create their own “bubble”, but for international matches their players travel to various countries and continents. Those are the moments when players can come into contact with Covid-19.”

In October, international football returned in Europe and South America, but other confederations postponed matches over Covid-19 concerns and restrictions. Clubs were reluctant to release their players for international team duty, with some Major League Soccer teams refusing to let their players go. And their concern for the South American World Cup qualifiers was obvious: all 10 South American nations played once at home and once away in the October window. Traveling in South America is at best tricky and arduous, but in coronavirus times it can be dangerous.

FIFPro has suggested to FIFA that  players are not only tested for the coronavirus upon arrival at their national team, but also before they return to their clubs. “So that clubs are not saddled with players they do not know whether they are positive or negative. Unfortunately FIFA has not included that in the protocol, ”said Gouttebarge.

In November, triple headers will return for European national teams with a friendly and two Nations League fixtures. Africa will kick off the qualification campaign for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations and South America continues on the long road to the Qatar World Cup.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1606273796labto1606273796ofdlr1606273796owedi1606273796sni@o1606273796fni1606273796