French players demand calendar rethink after spate of injuries on international duty

November 23 – France’s players union (UNFP) has called for an overhaul of the football calendar after a spate of players suffered serious injuries including during the recent international break. 

Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga (pictured) suffered a knee ligament injury while training with France while club teammate Aurelien Tchouameni went down with a stress fracture to his left foot during Real’s win over Barcelona last month.

Paris St. Germain’s new young midfield star Warren Zaire-Emery is out for the rest of the year after the 17-year-old picked up an ankle injury making his debut for Les Bleus.

It isn’t just French players that have been affected. Vinicius Jr, Gavi, Erling Haaland and Marcus Rashford are just some of the other players to be struck down by injury this month.

“We were right. We knew it. We said it. Repeatedly. And said it again,” UNFP said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“For years, the UNFP and FIFPRO have been sounding the alarm, denouncing the overworking of players, which endangers not only their physical health but their mental health too.”

UNFP said it was “high time to undertake a thorough reform of the calendar. If the post-World Cup period has vindicated all those who are calling for an overhaul of the fixture list, these are only the first signs of an even deeper crisis that will also end up damaging the spectacle,” it added. “It is about time that we stopped carrying on regardless. We don’t heal evil with evil.”

Conversely, the union also denounced the decision by France’s top two divisions not to release non-EU players during the international break.

“These decisions bear witness to a discrimination that the French state cannot continue to bear and which it must, on the contrary, get rid of as soon as possible,” the UNFP said adding that the selective ban on players would compromise the “fairness of competitions”.

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