FIFA’s Overpowering Control

By | March 19, 2015

Today in class we discussed how FIFA, as a governing body where regular fans don’t really have any say in it (we can’t vote, for example), seems to control everything regarding the world of soccer. When discussing the 2022 Qatar World Cup, it looks like FIFA is forcing leagues to work around whichever schedule they decide for the tournament–winter or summer. Given this reality, it seems rather odd that privately owned clubs have to release their players, whom are employees of the team, so that the players can play for their National squad. If the 2022 World Cup were to happen in November-December, this would mean that clubs would lose their key players for many weeks of the season, since National squads have weeks of training prior to the start of the World Cup.

Many clubs also get frustrated when their own players get injured while playing for National squads. Such was the case last year with Daniel Sturridge, who got injured while training with England’s team and missed three weeks of season play with Liverpool. This event happened after both Liverpool and Sturridge informed Roy Hodgson, England’s manager, that the Liverpool striker needed at least two days of full recovery after a match before resuming practice. Instead, he was placed in a sprint training session less than 48 hours after an international friendly and injured his thigh muscles.

Sturridge was injured after international duty with England


Instances like these make clubs very angry, as they are the ones who pay the ultimate price. National squads don’t provide insurance, and after a friendly match or tournament, the player goes back to being the club’s responsibility. But what good is he if he can’t play as a result of an injury that happened outside of the club’s control?

Perhaps the most frustrating news for clubs came this week, when Champions League contenders found out that they might lose their South American stars, were their team to reach the Champions League final. This year, the legendary match will occur on June 6th in Berlin’s Iconic OlympiaStadion. However, the 2015 Copa America in Chile will begin on June 11th, and FIFA is requiring that all players participating in the tournament be available by May 29th, two weeks before the start of the tournament. Given that after this date national squads have priority over all players, FIFA is recommending that European clubs begin to negotiate with national teams to allow their star players the ability to play on June 6th (if the club were to reach the final).

The Copa America Chile 2015 will begin on June 11th, five days after the Champions League Final


If no terms are reached (perhaps national teams want all their players available for pre-tournament training or don’t want players to be fatigued from playing the Champions League five days before the star of the tournament) and a team such as Barcelona were to reach the final, it would suffer a great loss, as Neymar, Messi, Dani Alves, Mascherano, and Bravo would be unavailable for said match. Not only that, but UEFA would also suffer a loss in terms of marketing, as fans are more likely to tune in and watch a game if it’s filled with internationally renowned players.

Messi, James and Neymar could potentially miss the Champions League Final

Only time will tell the future, but the lesson here is clear: once again, FIFA has exerted its dominion over everyone else (including UEFA), with no clear consequences on FIFA’s part. Can FIFA keep getting away with these kinds of actions?

As a side note, Suarez fans will be happy if Barcelona reaches the final, since he is still banned from biting Chiellini last summer and cannot play in the Copa America. Maybe it was all planned out? I’m sure he’s not too regretful of that now.

Suarez would have no problem playing the Final


4 thoughts on “FIFA’s Overpowering Control

  1. James Peek

    I think you overlook one very important aspect which is Patriotism. I completely agree that playing friendlies is a hassle for many teams as there’s this added risk of injury and fatigue, with no real reward. Similarly, many fans would much rather watch their beloved teams play rather than watch an international football game. The anticipation of the league can be a lot for many fans and they can get caught up in the intensity of it. When it’s taken away it all but seems like an anticlimax and much cynicism arises from the international fixtures.
    However, I believe, or hope to, that many players relish the opportunity of playing for one’s country whether it be a friendly or a major international competition. International matches are where legends are etched into the countries’ history and where players garner the love and the belief from the fans. It allows players to relieve themselves of the mental stress on the league and embody themselves in a new atmosphere with their countries’ finest.

  2. Harrison Kalt

    Like Johnny said, I think that this is a well articulated and well thought out article that highlights how FIFA is putting some of the sport’s biggest players and teams in precarious positions by forcing clubs to work around pre-established schedules set down for cross-continental competitions like the Europa League and UEFA Champions League. Unlike the NHL, which gives its players ample time between playing duties for their respective league teams and national squads, FIFA has forced some of its most visible players to choose between remaining loyal to their club and home fans and their nation, as time and time again, players like Daniel Sturridge have been put in precarious positions.

    Now, FIFA has decided to move the 2022 World Cup, the same cup that has been in question since the day it was chosen over Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Initially, upon announcing that the world cup would be played over the summer in Doha, Qatar, a place where temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees fahrenheit, FIFA was met with hundreds and hundreds of pleas to reconsider its decision. Yet, after 5 years of this back and forth discussion, FIFA has finally decided to change the World Cup to December, to avoid these hazardous conditions. As a result, they will be putting players at even greater risk, like the aforementioned Daniel Sturridge who was injured because of the wear and tear of playing for two teams almost simultaneously. By choosing Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup nearly half a decade ago, FIFA has effectively made the conscious decision to put its players at risk of increased injury and fatigue.

  3. Johnny Salinas

    You bring up some good points about how FIFA is forcing clubs to work around the schedules that were already set by the domestic leagues of individual clubs and bigger cross-continental competitions like the UEFA champions league. I like how you point out the damage that playing for a player’s respective nation can cause to said player’s club, as you point out with the case of Daniel Sturridge and Liverpool, without any insurance being provided to the individual clubs. I am curious to get your take regarding the 2022 FIFA world cup’s timing seeing as FIFA announced that the world cup would be held in November/December of that year rather than the traditional June/July period.

  4. Deemer Class IV

    Very interesting post and the class discussion was eye opening for myself whom doesn’t know as much about FIFA and the policies. I think this is similar to NBA basketball in that the players are weary of playing for the USA team in matches that aren’t the Olympics because they aren’t getting much out of playing. Most want to be healthy and rested for the NBA season which is where they truly make their mark on the sport as well as make their money, as is the same for the club soccer players worldwide.


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