Fifpro, an international organisation that represents football players, has recommended to Fifa the elimination of back-to-back competitive games with less than the five days of recovery time.
The body also wants Fifa to introduce a mandatory off-season break of four weeks and mandatory mid-season break of two weeks.
A report which Fifpro has published, reveals how players are overloaded by congested football calendars and the health risks that come with it.
“While we have been aware for several years about mounting pressure on top players, this report clearly underlines the extent of this pressure in today’s game. To meet the demands of the match calendar, players are being repeatedly asked to play at their limit. They do not have sufficient rest and recovery.
“This means that they cannot perform at their best and, worse still, that some are struggling with sustained periods of mental and physical strain,” reads the report signed by Fifpro general secretary Theo van Seggelen.
Once implemented, the recommendations will have an impact on Malawi’s football calendar in which TNM Super League clubs play back-to-back games week-in, week-out.
Newly-established Football Players Association (FPA) general secretary Ernest Mangani said his body will ensure the recommendations are implemented in the Super League.
He said: “These recommendations are very important in the life of the player. FPA has taken note and will seriously observe activities in our league so that working conditions for our members are fair and safe. We will from time to time be implementing best practices as recommended by Fifpro.”
Mangani bemoaned the scenario in the TNM Super League in which players are overloaded, saying this is hazardous to their health.
“The case in our scenario is very unfortunate. Players play two games within two days. They [players] travel long distances within a weekend just to fulfil fixtures. We need good, fair and healthy working conditions for our players,” he said.
But Super League of Malawi (Sulom) general secretary Williams Banda said they have already adopted the two-week mid-season break and four-week season break, but said efforts to stop back-to-back fixtures are failing as clubs resist the change.
“For example, if you look at our fixtures, a team is supposed to play only one game each weekend. While the clubs have no problem with this arrangement when playing at home, they would rather play two games when they have travelled.
“A team from the North will insist on playing two games when it travels to the Central or Southern regions to cut costs. The same applies with Southern and Central region teams. They would rather fulfil two away fixtures in one trip rather than come back,” he said.
Banda said for the recommendations to be embraced, clubs need to be financially stable. “It all goes back to the finances. Our clubs are poorly funded and they are forced to play back-to-back fixtures which, unfortunately, affects the players’ output,” he said.