Roberto Carlos admits concern over ‘very complex’ footballing schedule as legendary Brazilian calls for a new calendar… while former Real Madrid team-mate Geremi insists congestion is damaging players’ careers
- World Cup winning Brazilian Roberto Carlos has called for a new match calendar
- The former left-back called the current footballing schedule ‘very complex’
- His old Real Madrid team-mate Geremi agreed congestion is harmful to players
Legendary former Brazil star Roberto Carlos has called for a new match calendar in football, saying the current schedule is ‘very complex’ and causes performances to ‘drop’ after constant travelling.
Pundits, players and coaches have all complained about fixture congestion in recent years – with Man City boss Pep Guardiola a vocal critic last season as clubs were forced to play a string of games in a short space of time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And Carlos – who won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil and is regarded as one of the best left-backs of all time – says he struggled with the problem when he was a player and wants to see reforms to help players recover.
Roberto Carlos is demanding a reform of the footballing calendar, which he called ‘complex’
Speaking to FIFA, the former Real Madrid defender said teams would see an improvement in displays from their top stars if the authorities can find a solution.
‘I remember when I used to play, we would have a game on a Sunday, then we would travel on that Sunday evening, we would play again on Wednesday, get back on Friday and play on Saturday or Sunday,’ he said.
‘The players’ performance starts to drop automatically as you don’t have any time to rest. As for the travel: I’d leave Madrid, for example and travel to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires or Caracas in Venezuela and wouldn’t have any recovery time.
‘This idea reduces the number of trips as you would have the qualifying stages done in one month. So, you would have the time to train, play well, rest and get back to your club.
The Real Madrid legend said he suffered badly with fatigue during his playing career
‘There are too many consecutive matches and then you add the travel and the fatigue and it’s very complex. I think that football will improve a lot once this problem gets sorted.’
Former Chelsea and Newcastle midfielder Geremi agreed with Carlos and wants protection for players who are suffering from fatigue – insisting that a footballer’s career is hindered by constant travelling.’
FIFA is looking at ways to reduce the crammed fixture schedule and has invited stakeholders to hold discussions about the topic, with member associations also set to debate the issue this month.
Former Cameroon star Geremi added that the calendar was particularly tough on African players and said it was important to ‘find a solution’ to ensure players aren’t risking their health or their careers.
His former Real Madrid team-mate Geremi agreed that the schedule is harmful to players
‘Most African players play for European clubs,’ said the 42-year-old, who played alongside Carlos at Madrid.
‘So, when they participate in international competitions they have to travel from Europe to Africa. I can tell you that it’s very tiring.
‘When you travel from Europe in winter, it’s 40 degrees in Africa. There’s a contrast there and, naturally, that has an impact in terms of performance, because you are not at 100 per cent.
‘It also has an impact in terms of your sporting career because it reduces the number of years that you can play in the national team.
‘It’s not easy at all for an African footballer – or an Asian, South American or American footballer – to play in Europe at club level and play for their country too. So, it’s important that we find a solution to avoid putting players and their health at risk.’