Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe has warned about the dangers of increasing the number of football matches.
The Champions League will have an extra four teams and an extra two group matches from next season in a new format. FIFA has announced their 32-team Club World Cup from 2025. The 2026 World Cup also will be the first to include 48 teams.
Mbappe said: “We are approaching the NBA model with seventy-game seasons. Personally I am not against playing so much. but we will not be able to be good every time and give the public the expected show. In the NBA, players do not play every match and franchises practice load management [resting squad members who are not injured]. But, today, if I decided to say ‘I’m tired, I’m not playing on Saturday’, it wouldn’t work. The spectator who pays for his ticket, and who will perhaps see you only once in the season. wants to witness a performance worthy of the name and that is normal.
“However, it is a different mode of management to which football is exposed if the number of matches increases. I don’t want to give lessons, but we must think together to succeed in offering the best possible show and for players, spectators and authorities to come together.”
Mbappe’s former France team-mate Raphael Varane also recently claimed players’ careers will be made “much shorter” as a result of playing too often. Scientific research shows that players are more likely to sustain muscle injuries if they play two matches in a week.
A FIFPRO survey has revealed that 40% of footballers felt that a packed schedule was harming their mental health.