Football clubs losing players due to injuries from an international game

Currently in world football, conflict exists between domestic and international football teams, because although the domestic clubs pay the often large wages of the football players, a player can be required to play for his country. This, however, sometimes causes injury which prevents the club from using that player.

What are the rules regarding players called up for international duty?

When a player is called up for international duty, he is required to report for training on the date specified by the national governing body – in the case of the England national team, the Football Association (FA).

If a player does not wish to be part of the squad, he can make this clear to the governing body. Usually, however, a player will only not be involved in an international squad if he is deemed to be injured, in which case the player’s club will inform the FA.

FA medical staff can demand that the player reports for training so they can assess the player themselves, although this will generally only happen if the international team is involved in an international tournament or an important qualifier. For international friendly matches it is unlikely this will happen as the FA 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 player’s club doctors, stating the nature of the injury and any action taken.

If the injury is deemed minor by the national team medical staff and the national team has another match during the period the squad is together, it is up to the national team to whether the player plays in the match. The club can make their feelings clear on the matter, but the final decision rests with the national team.

When this situation arises, and the player aggravates the injury further, the tension between domestic clubs and international clubs becomes more apparent.


Following agreements between FIFA, UEFA and the European Clubs Association (ECA), when players are injured on international duty during major tournaments, the national governing body will be required to compensate the club which the player plays for.

This rule only applies, however, to injuries suffered in the final stages of an international football tournament. Therefore, if an England player is injured during the qualifying stages of the World Cup, the FA does not have to compensate the domestic club.

The World Cup tournament takes place English domestic game’s off-season, whereas the qualifiers take place during the domestic season. This mean any injury picked up during the qualifying stages will hit the club much harder – because they club will have lost a valued player and no compensation will be payable.

Furthermore, where a player suffers a career-threatening injury while training with their national team – such as happened to West Ham player Dean Ashton during training, a day before his England debut – clubs must carry on paying the player’s wages while they are out injured but will not be eligible for any compensation.

Article written by...
Nicola Laver LLB
Nicola Laver LLB

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A non-practising solicitor, Nicola is also a fully qualified journalist. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a legal journalist, editor and author.