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FIFA Told To Reschedule US-staged Club World Cup Over Fears About Player Welfare And Rights – News18



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FIFA has been told to reschedule its expanded Club World Cup just over a year before the tournament is due to be staged in the United States.

MANCHESTER, England: FIFA has been told to reschedule its expanded Club World Cup just over a year before the tournament is due to be staged in the United States.

World players’ union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Association are demanding reform of the international match calendar, which is controlled by soccer’s world governing body.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, FIFA has been accused of pushing players “beyond their limits, with significant injury risks” by expanding its competitions.

FIFPRO and the WLA say this is impacting players’ welfare and their “fundamental rights.”

A 32-team World Cup for clubs could be FIFA’s answer to the dominance of the Champions League and English Premier League as one of the most popular and lucrative sports competitions in the world. But it has sparked concerns over the demands on players in an increasingly congested match calendar, which will include an expanded 48-team World Cup from 2026.

The new version of the Club World Cup is slated for June 15 to July 13 next year and will mean three straight years of major competitions during the usual offseason, given the European Championship and Copa America are being staged in this summer and the next World Cup is in 2026.

FIFA has previously said the dates would be “harmoniously aligned with the international match calendar” to ensure sufficient rest for players ahead of the start of domestic leagues.

But FIFPRO and the WLA have are demanding the international calendar gets “immediately amended.”

As well as rescheduling the Club World Cup, they want to reopen discussions on the release periods for players from 2024-30 and review the “Intercontinental Cup,” which is effectively a replacement for the old Club World Cup, which was a short format event staged at the end of the year.

The letter warns legal action against FIFA could be considered if the governing body doesn’t comply.

“Leagues and players cannot simply be expected to ‘adapt’ to FIFA’s decisions, which are driven by FIFA’s business strategy. We have reached the point where this situation must immediately be addressed both from a procedural and substantive perspective,” the letter said.

FIFPRO has become increasingly concerned about the physical and mental health of players in the face of growing demands.

Last season, Manchester United and Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes made 70 appearances for club and country, including a run of 20 consecutive games as a result of the World Cup in Qatar being staged midway through the campaign.

Manchester City and Spain midfielder Rodri played in 10 different competitions.

There have been claims that such demands could lead to burnout, injuries and the premature curtailing of careers.

Concerns will hardly be alleviated by European soccer’s governing body UEFA changing the Champions League format from next season, with two additional games. The European Championship has also been expanded in recent years.

A report last year by FIFPRO analyzed the impact of what it described as “extreme calendar congestion.” It said 43% of World Cup players surveyed had experienced “extreme or increased mental fatigue.”

The Associated Press contacted FIFA for comment.


James Robson is at


AP soccer:

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)

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