World Football News

Some international friendly fixtures ‘irresponsible’, says Fifpro

Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino was part of a Japan side who beat Ivory Coast 1-0 in a friendly in the Netherlands on Tuesday

International friendlies may cause “huge problems” during the coronavirus pandemic, says the world players’ union general secretary.

Fifpro’s Jonas Baer-Hoffmann said clubs and players are concerned about having to isolate should they catch the virus.

He believes “economic pressures” are the reason for some games being played.

“It is very hard to fathom from a sporting and a health perspective that these games would take priority if there are severe risks,” he said.

“We all know that the federations who are organising these games sometimes have some very substantial commercial contracts aligned with these games and that is clearly one of the triggers as to why these games are being played.”

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is among those players to have already tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty, doing so before Portugal’s Nations League game against Sweden.

Baer-Hoffmann said the health of players should remain the number one priority for international federations.

Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: “What we are seeing now, especially from places out of Europe, is that that risk is put at a level which is simply irresponsible and then of course a friendly cannot justify any kind of risk to the health of players.

“I think we are now in a situation where we need more centralised decision-making than we have seen so far on how and which circumstances these games can and will go ahead, because clearly not everybody is taking responsible decisions.”

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Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport.