The conflict between clubs and international football teams
Currently in world football there exists conflict between the domestic football clubs and the international football teams.
What is the reason for this conflict?
The reason for this conflict is that it is the domestic clubs who pay the wages of the football players – in most cases where the player is a full international the wages will be a large sum – but a player can be required to play for his country often causing injury which prevents the club from using that player.
What are the rules regarding players being called up for their international teams?
When a player is called up for international duty he will be required to report for training on the date specified by the national governing body – in the case of the England national team this would be the Football Association.
If a player does not wish to be part of the squad he can make this clear to the governing body. However, this will clearly count against him for his future hopes of playing for his country.
The main reason why a player will not be involved in an international squad, where he wishes to play for his country, is if that player is deemed to be injured.
What happens if a player is deemed to be injured?
If a player is deemed to be injured in most cases the club for which that player plays will inform the Football Association that the player is injured.
Will the Football Association medical staff wish to gain a second opinion?
In certain situations the Football Association medical staff can demand that the player reports for training to that they can assess the player themselves. Often this will only happen if the international team is involved in an international tournament or has an important qualifier. For international friendly matches it is extremely unlikely that this will happen as the Football Association will wish to keep some balance between the England team and the clubs.
What happens if a player is injured while on international duty?
If a player is injured on international duty the medical staff involved with the national team will send reports directly to the club doctors stating the injury problems and what action has been taken.
What happens if the injury is deemed minor?
If the injury is deemed minor by the national team medical staff and the national team has another match during the period when the squad is together it is the decision of the national team as to whether the player plays in the match.
Can the club have a say in this matter?
The club can make their feelings clear to the national team but the final decision on whether that player plays in the international match will be the final decision of the national team. When this scenario occurs and the player aggravates the injury further is when much of the tension between domestic clubs and international clubs becomes apparent.
Will a domestic club be provided with any compensation when this occurs?
Following agreements between FIFA, UEFA and the European Clubs Association (ECA) when players playing for clubs are injured on international duty during major tournaments then the national governing body will be required to compensate the club which the player plays for.
Does this only apply to injuries in national tournaments?
The limitations on this rule are that it only applies to injuries suffered in the final stages of an international football tournament and not the qualifying stages. Therefore if a player playing for England is injured during the World Cup the Football Association will have to compensate the domestic club but would not have to if the match was part of the qualifying stages of the World Cup.
Is this a desirable position for the clubs?
It is a desirable position for the clubs due to the fact of the close proximity of games in the final stages of the World Cup meaning that the potential for injuries being suffered is higher. It is also more likely that a player may “play through the pain” and aggravate an earlier sustained injury when the high profile nature of the World Cup is at stake.
Are there any disadvantages for the clubs with this position?
The World Cup takes place in the off-season for the English domestic game whereas the qualifiers for the tournament take place during the season. This means that the potential for any injury picked up when on this kind of international duty affecting the player’s ability to be out of action for their club is much higher.
Furthermore, there is also the situation whereby a player may suffer a career threatening injury while training with their national team. This has occurred recently for a player in the Premier League when an injury suffered during training meant he was out for a season and then aggravated the same injury ending his career two years after the original injury. The club would have been paying his wages for those two years and will not be eligible for any compensation.
Is it just high profile teams which are affected by players playing for their national team?
Following the multi-national nature of football in England it is no longer just the top-flight teams which are affected by international call-ups. When the vast majority of players in England were English it was only deemed necessary for the top division not to play matches during the time the national team were.
Due to the movement of football players experienced in the last 10 years many lower league teams have players from all over the world playing for them. In certain situations these players will be international players of smaller nations. This means that these clubs will be put at a disadvantage when playing certain league matches due to losing their players for international duty and not having a break from domestic action during this time.