Sepp Blatter says reduce club games while European teams say no
It looks like FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and his bed buddy UEFA’s Michel Platini are really getting on the nerves of European soccer teams. The genius Blatter said there are too many club games during a season and he thinks they’re conflicting with players’ commitments to the national squads, even though the clubs are the ones signing the paycheques.
Blatter said the clubs are involved in too many league games and cup competitions such as the league cups and FA Cup, and that’s why club owners don’t want to release them to their national teams. He added that there are too many teams and too many games. But understandably the clubs don’t want their players to come back from national duty injured as they’ve invested tons of money into them. .
The European Club Association (ECA), which is a group that represents approximately 200 of Europe’s top clubs, asked FIFA to alter its international game schedule because several players were injured during friendlies just weeks after the World Cup had ended in South Africa last summer.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the ECA president said it wasn’t a good idea scheduling games just after the World Cup as many players didn’t have any holidays and weren’t prepared to play so soon after the month-long World Cup.
But Blatter said the injuries were caused by the clubs playing too many games. He said that some of the best teams may play up to 70 matches during a season if you include domestic cups and the Champions League. The clubs are now asking FIFA to pay at least some of the insurance premiums for players when they are on national duty because they still have to be paid even if they get injured while playing for their country.
Rummenigge said the ECA is going to ask FIFA to reduce the number of national team games, especially the friendlies, instead of cutting down on domestic games. He pointed to the case of Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich who played a total of 83 games last year. He added that FIFA has dates set for 10 Euro 2012 qualification games this year as well as three more for friendlies. In addition, South America’s Copa America, the Asia Cup, and the Gold Cup all take place in 2011 as well.
Rummenigge and many fans feel the quality of football is suffering because players are injured or tired and points to last year’s World Cup as a prime example. So basically, Rummenigge’s feelings are the opposite of Blatter’s as he wants internationals cut down instead of club games. He said clubs have already conceded to FIFA and UEFA when they got rid of the second group stage of the European Champions League.
Platini, who is the president of UEFA wants to change the league format and said he advised Blatter way back in 1998 that the European league seasons should run between February and December, but he met too much opposition. Rummenigge said FIFA and UEFA don’t pay the players so it’s up to the clubs to make the decisions when it comes to league and international games.