The issue of the football calendar being filled to the brim with games, not giving players enough rest is evergreen.
Manchester United’s Raphael Varane has now weighed into it in a public post calling out the FA for the new rules coming for the upcoming Premier League season.
Under the new rules, there will be a concerted effort from the referees to have the ball in play for as long as possible. This is to be done by adding large amounts of stoppage time to account for time-wasting.
It was trialled at the Qatar World Cup to huge positive feedback but Varane urges people to see the other side of it.
He raised the issue of “too many games”, and an “overcrowded schedule” leading to “dangerous levels of players’ physical and mental wellbeing”.
The Frenchman stressed that “longer games, more intensity” will make it hard for players to give their 100%.
He criticised the governing body, asking why “our opinions are not being heard”.
We had a meeting last week with the FA. They recommended from the referees new decisions and rules.
From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for…
— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) August 7, 2023
It’s a salient point raised by a player who retired from international football recently to prolong his club career amid a rising number of matches.
United played 70 games last season at a breakneck pace, exacerbated by the Winter World Cup. The players kept getting injured due to not getting enough recovery time and that was despite the club not reaching the final of the Europa League.
It would have been much worse otherwise and for players, it is a cause of soft tissue injuries, leading to a breakdown of the body in the long term.
By the end of the season, United looked like they had run out of gas as they huffed and puffed to the finish line.
With the new rules in place, the games will be longer in the Premier League, while there are also more stringent rules in place now to protect the referees from being overwhelmed by players’ protests.
Therefore, Varane is arguably correct to question the FA as the players’ opinion is the only one being ignored here.