- Maheta Molango said the report was ‘another wake-up call’ for player health
- The third annual injury report from Howden was published on Sunday evening
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PFA chief executive Maheta Molango on Sunday night claimed that international players are at ‘breaking point’ after a new report revealed that those involved in last year’s World Cup spent an average of eight days longer out through injury following the mid-season tournament in Qatar.
Premier League stars suffered the most from injury after the World Cup, with 49 missing matches the following month, which Molango called ‘unsustainable’.
The third annual injury report from global insurance company Howden published on Sunday reveals that World Cup injuries saw players sidelined for an average of 11.35 days before the competition in October 2022, a figure which rose to 19.41 days in the month after the tournament in January 2023. The 49 Premier League players who were ruled out with injury immediately afterwards compared to 46 in the Bundesliga, 18 in La Liga and 12 in Serie A.
Howden have calculated that the cost to clubs across Europe’s top five leagues of player injuries rose by 30 per cent from the 2021-22 to the 2022-23 season, from £484million to £616m.
While the overall number of injuries fell last season from 4,006 to 3,985 the cost rose significantly, with Premier League clubs suffering most with a £255m loss according to Howden, a £70.84m increase on the 2021-22 season.
PFA chief executive Maheta Molango has said that international players are ‘at breaking point’
A new report has detailed how players that played at the Qatar World Cup have faced an average of eight days longer out injured
Jude Bellingham pulled out of England’s squad for this round of international fixtures with a shoulder injury
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Howden attribute the increasing number of days lost to injury to the impact of a mid-season World Cup, which Molango described as an ‘alarming wake-up call’ given the 2034 tournament in Saudi Arabia will also take place during the European winter.
‘The latest injury report following the Qatar World Cup is another wake-up call,’ Molango told Mail Sport. ‘It shows the reality of football’s unrelenting calendar on player health. The continued expansion of the competition calendar, both at club and international levels, is pushing players beyond their limits.
‘Decisions such as that to press ahead with what seems certain to be another winter World Cup in Saudi Arabia without fully assessing the fallout from Qatar 2022 are alarming. This non-stop escalation is unsustainable. Players are literally at breaking point.
‘We are seeing shortened player careers, financial losses in the hundreds of millions for clubs, and a risk to long-term fan engagement. We’re facing a lose-lose-lose situation, and it’s time to hit the brakes.
Molango told Mail Sport that the World Cup highlighted ‘the reality of football’s unrelenting calendar on player health’
The report showed that Premier League players suffered the most with injury following the World Cup last December
‘At the PFA, we will continue to pursue a collective strategy. As it stands the game risks running the players ragged.’
Manchester United and Nottingham Forest suffered most from injury in the Premier League last season according to Howden, with both clubs reporting 69 separate injures during the campaign.
Brentford and Fulham were more fortunate, recording just 28 and 27 injuries respectively, while Manchester City’s historic treble may have been aided by Pep Guardiola’s side suffering fewer injuries last year than in the previous campaign, with their incidences of injury dropping from 67 to 40.
‘We’ve seen clearly that the staging of a men’s World Cup in a European winter led to players facing an extra eight days on the sidelines in the second half of the season, compared to the first,’ James Burrows, Head of Sport at Howden said.
IT’S ALL KICKING OFF!