Pep Guardiola suggests Spain-style player strike in ambitious plan to end Premier League injury crisis

Pep Guardiola suggests Spain-style player strike in ambitious plan to end Premier League injury crisis

Pep Guardiola has spoken out about congested football schedules and has urged male players to take a leaf out of the Spanish women’s national team’s book.

Earlier this summer, Spain’s historic Women’s World Cup win was overshadowed by former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissing Jenni Hermoso without her consent.

Despite Rubiales’ initial refusal to step down from his role, the 46-year-old eventually resigned from his post while ex-La Roja manager, Jorge Vilda, was sacked.

Following an 81-player boycott of the national team, it’s said that Spanish stars such as Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmati recently came to an ‘agreement’ to end the strike.

Much like in women’s football, heavy domestic and international schedules are taking their toll on top Premier League teams.

With the likes of Manchester United, City and Arsenal all being plagued with injuries, Pep Guardiola believes that men’s football should be inspired to take a stand.

Speaking to in his pre-match press conference on Friday, the Manchester City boss said: "There is only one solution to change something, maybe if all the players decide for themselves to say, 'Stop', then you have to change something. And then FIFA, UEFA will maybe react a little bit.

“In this business, the show must go on. Without Pep, keep going, but without the players, the show will not go on. But it depends on them if they decide.”

Using La Roja as an example, Guardiola continued: “Look at Spain with the women’s team, the players decided to change something and they changed it.

“They changed something because the players decided that they had something inside to protect the players and the future of the teams for new generations. The biggest legacy is that.”

However, the 52-year-old was unsure whether men’s football would be able to take a similar stance.

“The women’s teams in Spain did it, I don’t know if in men’s world football, they will do it.”

Guardiola’s comments come after it was revealed that the Premier League may be scrapping their mid-season break.

The news, which broke last month, comes as the football schedule is set to become more crowded and congested.

The mid-season break was first introduced in 2018 in a bid to ease player’s workload. This season, the two-week period is due to take place in January.

However, as per PlanetSport, the league’s chief executive Richard Masters said this may have to change.

“It is one of the things we are discussing with the FA and EFL. We want the Premier League, the big cup competitions and the EFL to flourish and that requires an adjustment.

“It is the last season where it's recognisable under the current international match calendar, where the Premier League starts on a particular weekend and the FA Cup final has its own weekend and you have the Champions League after that and a mid-season player break in the middle.

“A lot will have to change because of the additional European dates. We are also very much aware of the changes to FIFA's competitions.

“The World Cup is getting bigger, an additional group stage game is going to be added. Inevitably that's going to take up more calendar space.”

The comments come after FIFA previously revealed that the Club World Cup in 2025 will consist of 32 teams, while the 2026 World Cup will expand to include 48 nations from six confederations.

Masters admitted that while there has been ‘dialogue’ with UEFA, there has been ‘very little’ with FIFA.

“You obviously have the views of the players' union and the players being expressed very strongly now. "From a league perspective, the European Leagues and World Leagues Forum are very clear on this, there has to be a forum for domestic competitions to be able to discuss the impact of regional and global decisions on the calendar.

"There's lots of dialogue with UEFA, very little dialogue with FIFA.”
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