“Finish the game now or you can come back tomorrow to play”, that’s what UEFA told Denmark’s team after a gruesome incident which involved Christian Eriksen suffering a cardiac arrest during Euro 2020 match vs Finland.
Former players and managers have hit out at how this incident was taken care of and regarded it as a “joke”. Former Chelsea and Irish international player, Damien Duff, said:
“They were told 'you can finish the game now or you can come back at noon tomorrow. For me that's a joke. They said noon obviously because of TV rights and that should have gone out the window after what happened”
This is not the first example of how UEFA and other football associations treat their players. Many high profile managers have come out and criticized these associations for keeping a tight schedule in these torrid times where Covid have had its effects on each and every individual.
At one point last season, Manchester United had to play four matches within eight days. Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer came out and slammed the scheduling authorities and said:
“It’s made by people who have never played football at this level. It’s physically impossible for the players to do it after being here, doing Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, is impossible”
Having so many broadcasters and with so much money now being involved in football, footballers’ health has taken a back seat, when it should be in the front row considering Covid concerns all over the world. TV and broadcaster rights have always been a priority for football associations even when players’ health is on the line.
Pep Guardiola is one of many who has openly talked about and bashed the scheduling authorities of not taking care of the players. He said in an interview:
“The reality is what it is. It is not just Man City, it is all the clubs and countries. Nobody cares about the players. Everyone, the Premier League, UEFA, EFL has defended their own business and position. The players had a two-week pre-season and now they have to play every three days for 11 months. We will not change anything saying the opposite. We cannot control that. They let them play two games in four days without preparation. They are not machines”.
The most concerning thing is even after such incidents like that of Christian Eriksen, there are no efforts being made by any of the association even to consider players’ health while designing the season calendar.
What will it take for UEFA and other associations to take action on this rising concern? We will have to see while hoping it would be as early as possible.