FIFA Needs to Act on “Dangerous Levels of Fixture Congestion” Affecting Football Players Worldwide, says FIFPRO Report
A recent report by the international players’ union, Fifpro, has highlighted the need for football authorities worldwide to take action against ‘dangerous levels’ of fixture congestion affecting players across the globe. The study found that nearly half of all players at the last World Cup in Qatar reported experiencing extreme or increased mental fatigue due to inadequate preparation and recovery time.
The Impact on Player Well-being: Champions League and Club World Cup Formats Could Pose Further Threats
In addition, Fifpro warned that proposed changes to both Champions League and Club World Cup formats could significantly increase player workload and pose a further threat to their overall health and well-being. From the 2024-25 season onwards, an estimated 11% increase in matches is expected as a result of these changes.
Increased Matches Mean Increased Physical Fatigue & Injuries for Players
The number of teams competing in Champions League group stages will rise from current numbers (32) up to 36, and those who reach finals may have up to four more games added onto their schedules compared with previous years. Meanwhile, new plans for a revamped Club World Cup format starting from summer 2025 indicate that teams may play up seven extra games just trying make it through qualifying rounds.
Players are Already Overworked – Changes Will Exacerbate Issues Further!
Fifpro’s President David Aganzo stated: “The industry needs a far greater collective effort to establish effective player workload safeguards and a responsible calendar solution that protects player health and supports player performance.” He added: “It’s clear the current situation is unacceptable. Changes will only exacerbate existing issues of fatigue, injury risk, and overall burnout.”
What Needs to Change? – A Global Approach
Maheta Molango, CEO of Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), stressed the need for football authorities worldwide to take responsibility in finding solutions that protect players’ well-being. “We must stop looking at this issue in isolation,” he said. “Instead, we need a global approach that considers the maximum number of games professional athletes can realistically play.