The mid-season World Cup in Qatar last year led to players from Europe’s top five leagues spending an average of eight days more on the sidelines due to injuries in the months following the tournament, a revealed a study.
Insurance Group Howden has published its European Football Injury Index for the 2022-23 season, a year after the World Cup, after studying the effects of match congestion on player wellbeing during the season last.
The study indicates that in October 2022, 88 recorded injuries led to players being out for an average of 11.35 days before the tournament, but that figure increased to 19.41 days in January 2023 after the tournament.
Ankle (170 percent), calf/shin (200 percent) and hamstring (130 percent) injuries saw the greatest increase in severity.
“We have clearly seen that hosting a men’s World Cup during a European winter has led to players having to face an additional eight days of absence in the second half of the season, compared to the first,” said James Burrows, head of sport at Howden. .
“The impact has been consistent in domestic leagues such as the English Premier League and German Bundesliga.”
Burrows added that the increased severity of injuries contributed to a nearly 30 percent increase in the financial impact, from 553.62 million euros ($603.83 million) to 704.89 million. euros in the top five European leagues.
“The data clearly demonstrates a trend,” he added.
“We hope our research and analysis will provide Europe’s top clubs with additional insight as they continue to engage with football’s governing bodies on better alignment of domestic and international calendars and the wider issue of match congestion.”
The study showed that there were 3,985 injuries across Europe’s top five leagues during the 2022-23 season.
The English Premier League and German Bundesliga accounted for 23.6 percent and 14.8 percent of players participating in the World Cup, respectively, and they experienced the greatest impact on injury rates.
“In the two months following the tournament, Bundesliga players…suffered 46 injuries, compared to 49 in the English Premier League, suggesting that Germany’s extended winter break after the men’s World Cup proved have a minimal effect,” the study says.
Earlier this year, international players’ union FIFPRO said almost half of players competing in the World Cup were suffering from extreme or increased mental fatigue during an unprecedented season of match congestion .
Around 44 percent of players felt more physical fatigue and 23 percent more mental fatigue in January compared to other seasons, while 53 percent felt more likely to suffer injuries.
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