PFA warns FIFA players may strike unless overloaded international calendar is reviewed

May 31 – Whilst Fifpro and the World Leagues Association (WLA) have threatened legal action over the overloaded international calendar and its affect of players’ health, FIFA has now been warned by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in England that players could even go on strike.

PFA chief executive Maheta Molango (pictured) believes players are now at breaking point and that football’s packed schedule not only endangers health but also diminishes the quality of the sport.

“We have reached a point where we cannot rule out any action,” Molango said.

FIFA has denied accusations it has taken unilateral decisions without consultation but next year’s expanded 32-team Club World Cup continues to cause deep division.

“We will always try to exhaust all diplomatic avenues, we have sent a letter, we have received a reply, but unfortunately time is against us,” said Molango.

A study focused on young players has warned how much stress their bodies are under and highlighted the number of minutes Real Madrid and England’s Jude Bellingham has played before he is 21.

The midfielder, still just 20 and a central figure in Saturday’s Champions League final, has played 18,486 minutes in his career, compared to the 3,929 former England captain David Beckham played.

Fifpro’s Europe president David Terrier has warned of burnout, physically and mentally.

“There is an emergency – we are in danger,” said Terrier. “Players have gone beyond the limit and the international timetable is full to the brim.”

In response to the initial legal threats by Fifpro and the WLA, and the demand to cancel the expanded 2025 World Club Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the FIFA Congress last week ridiculed their argument saying that FIFA only organises a miniscule amount of club games.

He failed to include national team games in his thinking and the demands they already put on players. The players will not withdraw from their clubs as that is where they earn their money. Realistically the only break they can receive is within FIFA’s international calendar.

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