Women’s World Cup: The dispute between clubs and countries over the dates for the release of female players

European clubs stand firm on their players’ release date for national training camps ahead of this summer’s Women’s World Cup, although national teams – including England – are trying to call up players earlier than FIFA and the European Club Association (ECA). . ) recommended start date.

Last week, FIFA and the ECA announced that a compromise had been reached meaning players could be released to national teams between the non-mandatory time frame of June 23 and June 29, less than four weeks before the tournament kicks off on July 20. Flexible to allow clubs and national teams to design plans to suit the individual needs of players. The mandatory release date of July 10 is still in effect.

At least six other federations are trying to move forward with national camps starting before June 23. England still plans to start their official preparatory camp on June 19, four days earlier than the recommended window, but ECA member clubs confirm they will not release players early due to concerns about player welfare.

Discussions are still ongoing, and the athlete He has been told that the Football Association of England (FA) has contacted the club’s chief executives, although no new agreement has yet been reached. The Lionesses are due to play a friendly at home against Portugal on July 1 before flying to Australia on July 5, but this has yet to be confirmed due to uncertainty over the players’ schedule.

While there was a general consensus that releasing players on July 10 did not allow for sufficient preparation for the World Cup, particularly given the need to acclimate after long journeys, European clubs believe that recalling players before June 23 does not give them enough rest. The period after the conclusion of the domestic season and the start of their preparations for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand. For their part, the national teams fear that the players will lose their fitness after a long break before the World Cup.

Priority for both parties is the duty of care. If a player leaves his club for national team duties before 23 June, he will be secured under the FIFA Club Protection Program (CPP) until his return, as long as there are no extended periods of leave once at camp.

Last year, the majority of the federations participating in the European Championships called players to training camps at least 10 days before the start of the official FIFA international window on June 20. This year, national teams have communicated their summer plans to clubs assuming they will be granted player access – as has happened in previous years. However, with a backlog of player workload exacerbated by back-to-back major tournaments, ECA member clubs want stricter compliance with FIFA’s player protection windows in the hope that this will benefit clubs and countries’ long-term prospects.

A FIFA and ECA statement last week read: “The mandatory release date for players remains July 10, 2023. However, while acknowledging that a number of clubs will conclude their domestic season before the tournament begins, the new consensus agreement has established the following: mandatory timeframe For release June 23-29, 2023 – four weeks before the tournament kicks off on July 20, 2023.

“This new framework strikes the all-important balance between players getting enough rest while allowing enough time to prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

“The new indicative time frame should serve as a guide for the participating member clubs and associations, with exact release dates to be agreed upon between them based on the individual circumstances of each case. These efforts towards mutual agreement are encouraged and fully endorsed by FIFA and the ECA. “.

In response to the statement, an FA spokesperson said: “We are grateful to FIFA and the ECA for giving national associations the flexibility to find the best solution to this issue, with all parties placing player welfare at the heart of their decision-making process. We will continue positive discussions with clubs. Our research tells us that player demands are In a major international tournament like the FIFA Women’s World Cup is bigger than any other competition.

Along with many of the other competing nations, we believe we need more time to prepare the squad, recognizing that having a proper rest and recovery period at the end of a busy club season, which also included back-to-back internationals, is vital. Players’ chances of getting back to form, with an increased risk of injury as a result, which would be in no one’s interest – not least the players.

There are additional considerations about the negative impact of jet lag, acclimatization and jet lag. We are committed to working with FIFA and ECA in the short and long term. We all have a shared commitment to supporting what’s best for our players.”

(Top photo: Michael Regan – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)


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