Football stars could SNUB World Cup 2034 with Saudi tournament set to be played in winter again, hints PFA chief | The Sun
FOOTBALL stars could snub the Saudi World Cup 2034 as the event is expected to place in the winter once more, a PFA chief has hinted.
It was announced on Tuesday the prestigious tournament had only one bidder – Saudia Arabia – and as with Qatar 2022, the event will inevitably reshuffle the football calendar.
Overworked footballers may opt out of the World Cup 2034 as the hosts Saudi Arabia are set to interfere with the football calendar once again.
Saudi became the only contender to host the competition after Australia pulled out of the race on Tuesday morning.
The formal approval of the Gulf State running the tournament is expected to be announced in late 2024.
But given the kingdoms soaring temperatures, a winter tournament is imminent – which will be held in the middle of European seasons.
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As seen with the Qatar World Cup 2022 players will have to prolong their domestic season and risk overwork and injuries.
PFA Chief Executive Maheta Molango warns that the overcrowded football schedule could prevent the top players from representing their countries in 2034.
He told Mail Sport: "We all want our biggest tournaments to showcase our best players.
"That means we need to start listening when players start opting out of international football due to the pressures of the workload they are facing. We think that’s a real risk."
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The Qatar World Cup 2022 was thought to be a rare occurrence – but with Saudi Arabia now hosting the megaevent players fear this could have a lasting impact on the sport's dynamic.
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Molango spoke with Manchester United defender Raphael Varane – who retired from the French national team after the World Cup 2022 last December.
And the 30-year-old was sceptical about the return of a winter tournament.
He said: "The men’s World Cup in Qatar was played in the European winter, but this was understood to be an exceptional circumstance.
"If that now isn’t going to be the case, we need to have a proper understanding of what that means for the scheduling of the wider calendar.
"And, crucially, the impact on players in terms of injuries and fitness.
"We’re not far enough removed from Qatar yet to assess that, but we know there is concern among players that they simply never get a break.
"Lengthening seasons to accommodate tournament schedously isn’t going to help."
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