This is news that may give the selections a cold sweat. According to Team information, international players playing in Europe will have an extremely tight schedule ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and will play a final day of the championship one week before the opening match.
Next year, the schedule will remain tight with Qatar hosting the World Cup in winter and UEFA planning the third edition of the Nations League finals in June 2023.
FIFA, meanwhile, wants to host the World Cup every two years after development director Arsene Wenger. describes plans for a shorter cycle in the international game. This is in addition to their ambition to build their Club World Cup.
In this sense, UEFA has announced to the 55 European federations that the selected players will only be released by the clubs a few days before the start of the World Cup, which will be played in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
Through a circular, the European body ensures that internationals are made available to the thirty-two qualified nations on November 14. For a competition that will start exactly a week later, namely on November 21. A request that risks causing a real standoff between the coaches and coaches.
This schedule could strongly impact the performance of the players concerned who will join their respective selections after a big season, without having had time to recover. Moroccan players playing in Europe will also be affected, such as Achraf Hakimi who plays for Paris Saint-Germain, Imran Louza at Watford, Nayef Aguerd in Rennes or Sofyan Amrabat at Fiorentina, to name a few.
FIFA and UEFA under fire from critics
This dense schedule is already causing talk in the football world, starting with the Belgian and Real Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, who launched a harsh criticism of UEFA and FIFA for having scheduled more and more matches to the detriment the well-being of the players.
Courtois thumped his fist after his side’s 2-1 loss to Italy in the Nations League third-place game, qualifying the match, in which both teams turned their teams, a “Gambling”.
“This game is just a gambling game, we have to be honest about it”, Courtois told Sky Sports.
“We play it just because for UEFA it’s extra money and it’s an extra game on TV. OK, for us it’s a good game because it’s against Italy and for Italy it’s a good game because it’s against Belgium, but look how much the two teams have changed their players – if we had both been in the final, others would have played ”, he added.
Courtois’ shattering exit comes after a 12-month stretch that has put a lot of pressure on players to the point of exhaustion. The Covid-19 pandemic has consolidated the 2020/21 season to the point that most players have had to play two, sometimes three games each week in order to complete the campaign by this summer.
However, the demands on top players have hardly eased since then. It was just over a month between the Euro 2020 final and the start of the new Premier League season.