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Vincent Kompany calls for ‘cap’ on number of matches professionals play

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes a cap should be placed on the number of matches top professionals can play as football’s fixture calendar continues to fill up.

The Belgian is concerned by the workload being placed on top stars, who can commonly play 50 to 60 games a season.

Kompany, who is part of world players’ union FIFPro’s Global Player Council, told Belgian television network Sporza: “Yes, well, it does not have to be a limitation, but a sort of cap. There is no other way: we will probably be playing 100 matches soon!

“After the last World Cup I might have had seven days of vacation. I think that in the last two to three years, I might have had two seven-day breaks.

“But these are not seven-day mental breaks, only physical breaks. Two seven-day physical breaks.”

Kompany believes squad sizes will have to increase from 25 to 40 to accommodate extra matches.

“If they want to play more games, as I’ve heard, and if they want to play on different continents because football has become a global game, which I do understand, then they have to make more players available,” he said.

“A squad of 40 players that plays those 100 matches. I can imagine that. But not a squad of 25 players.”

Jurgen Klopp wants his players to take a rest rather than be involved in an FA Cup replay

Jurgen Klopp wants his players to take a rest rather than be involved in an FA Cup replay (Peter Byrne/PA)

The issue of player workload has been in the spotlight again this week, after Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would rest his senior players for an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury to ensure they were able to gain the benefit from a scheduled mid-season break.

The European Club Association, though, is proposing changes to the structure of continental club competition from 2024 which may lead to an increase in matches, while FIFA’s Club World Cup will be expanded to a 24-team summer tournament from next year.

FIFPro’s ‘At The Limit’ report last year reported some shocking statistics on the workload of top players.

It found that Liverpool’s Sadio Mane played 70 matches for club and country and travelled 100,000 kilometres between May 25, 2018 and July 19, 2019, while his team-mate Alisson Becker played 72 matches for club and country and travelled 80,000km between May 25, 2018 and July 10, 2019.