Stan Collymore has called out Arsene Wenger over his proposals for a biennial World Cup, suggesting that the plans in question aren’t considering the welfare of the players.
This follows from an interview issued by Thibaut Courtois criticising the world’s governing bodies for treating footballers like ‘robots’ in the wake of Belgium’s Nations League final defeat to Spain.
“In his role as head brainstromer supreme for FIFA, the notion of a World Cup every two years is a nonsense,” the former Liverpool forward told Empire of the Kop.
“His reasoning was, ‘well, wouldn’t you want to be a winner? There’s more trophies to win – more trophies spread out more and more over a season means more chances to win’.
“It’s cobblers, Arsene. You’re talking cobblers.
“Professional footballers traditionally in England had the August to May (sometimes early June, if you got into European cup finals) and then had a proper break.
“I have been screaming and shouting for over a decade that it’s not just about how many more tournaments we can cram in, how we can change the frequency of these tournaments, how we can expand the European Championship.
“This is going to be, unless this is checked, a major problem for professional footballers. They are human beings, they are not robots and you cannot keep going to the well.”
Jurgen Klopp has been particularly critical of the increasingly demanding fixture schedule, most recently clashing with BT Sport’s Des Kelly over the matter prior to Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Watford.
Whilst we can appreciate the nobility of the former Arsenal boss’ intentions, the reality is that a biennial World Cup will only compound the issues we’ve seen affecting sides like Liverpool.
The players are already struggling to cope with the demands of the fixture schedule with injuries a regular feature of international breaks.
As such, Collymore’s absolutely on the money when he warns that an increased burden will become ‘a major problem’ for the game’s athletes.