‘We’ve been sounding the alarm for years’ – France’s players’ union criticises hectic schedule after spate of injuries

The UNFPFrance’s players’ union, have criticised the hectic scheduling after a spate of severe injuries in recent weeks, including during the recent international break. 

France’s squad was particularly affected by injuries this month. Aurélien Tchouaméni did not even make the group after suffering an injury for Real Madrid during El Clásico. His teammate, Eduardo Camavinga, did make the squad but was injured in the build-up to Les Bleus’ historic 14-0 victory over Gibraltar. 

Whilst Warren Zaïre-Emery, Paris Saint-Germain’s breakout star this season, did participate in that historic French victory, he was injured, and like Camavinga, will not feature until 2024. Jean-Clair Todibo was also injured while on international duty. However, it isn’t just French players that have been affected. Vinicius Jr, Gavi, Erling Haaland, Marcus Rashford, Jarrod Bown and Michail Antonio are just some of the players to be struck down by injury this month. 

Qatar World Cup worsened situation – UNFP

Within this context, the UNFP have released a statement, denouncing the intense schedule, which they believe is responsible for the high quantity of injuries. 

We were right. We knew it. We said it. We repeated it. And then we repeated it again. But if executives are obliged to hear us, it is rare that they hear us, especially when what is at stake goes beyond the limits of the pitch,” read the organisation’s statement. 

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. Even despite initially succeeding in avoiding the worst, by obliging FIFA to reconsider holding its hallmark competition in deadly conditions at the World Cup in Qatar, as we predicted, it has acted as an accelerator, even though the workload already surpassed comprehension.”

In the absence of negotiated rest periods, of necessary recovery between matches, but also of tools or measures to protect and ensure the mental and physical health of footballers, the dramatic increase in injuries in the top five leagues is not a coincidence. And if after the World Cup has proven right those that called for a redesign of the schedule, these are only the beginnings of an even deeper crisis that will also end up worsening the spectacle”

It is about time that we stopped carrying on regardless and respond to the calls for a redesign of the international calendar, in other ways than just by adding competitions. We don’t heal evil with evil,” concluded the UNFP’s statement, published on Wednesday. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

More European Football News