FIFPro exhorts FIFA not to overlook health implications of revamped international football tournaments

Paris: The professional footballers' union (FIFPro) on Thursday expressed their concern over the impact on the health of their members should FIFA plan to add or enlarge international tournaments.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"In the light of the current discussions, it would be remiss if FIFPro did not explore the impact of these proposals on players," Bobby Barnes, president of FIFPro Europe, said in a meeting in Serbia.

Gianni Infantino, the president of world football's governing body, is pushing to revamp the Club World Cup, boosting it from seven clubs to 24 in a four-year format rather than retaining it as an annual event.

At the same time, he is working to create a biennial tournament for countries, the Global Nations League, grouping eight teams including the winners of international competitions in each of FIFA's regional confederations.

Infantino has said a group of investors has guaranteed up to $25 billion (20.9 billion euros) for these two competitions.

Barnes, a former striker who played in the English and Scottish leagues and in Hong Kong, told the FifPro meeting in Novi Sad that "while other stakeholders might have other priorities, the health and well-being of the players has to be our first priority,"

The European Leagues, an organisation which represents the regions' top domestic competitions, said last week that it opposed the plans and said FIFA had opening a "can of worms."

FIFA is also considering bringing forward the planned expansion of the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams to Qatar in four years time.

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Updated Date: May 11, 2018 11:22:24 IST

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