- Some Premier League players criticize new suspension time rules
- Manchester United’s Raphael Varane admits he is worried about player burnout
- Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne insists new rules don’t make sense
Premier League stars opposed the new rules on stoppage time on Monday, fearing that longer games would lead to burnout.
Manchester United defender Raphael Varane spearheaded the backlash, warning of the ‘dangerous’ and ‘harmful’ effects of referees that were saving so much time.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne weighed in, claiming that the new guidelines made no sense and that even match officials didn’t like them.
This was followed by a weekend of marathon football matches between City and Arsenal on Sunday, culminating in the Community Shield, which lasted around 106 minutes.
Referee Stuart Attwell has also appointed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as part of the crackdown on opposition between managers and players.
Varane worries that forcing football players to play longer and keep their emotions in check could have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health.
“As managers and players, we have shared our concerns for years that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and the players’ physical and mental well-being is at a dangerous level,” the United’s defender wrote on his social media account.
Despite our previous feedback, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity and less emotion will be shown by the players.
We want to be in good shape on the pitch to give our club and our fans 100 percent. Why are our views not heard?
“I feel these changes are hurting our game. I believe it’s important that we highlight these important issues as we want to protect the game we love and give the fans the best we can.”
The new directive on the suspension time came from the International Football Association Board, which was in effect at the World Cup held in Qatar last year.
This meant that the first weekend of the new EFL season saw an average of 16 minutes 34 seconds added time in both halves.
At Wembley, three minutes were added to the end of the first half and eight minutes to the end of the second half – this was over 13 after Thomas Partey and Kyle Walker needed treatment.
Arsenal tied in the 101st minute before winning a shootout, and City manager Pep Guardiola joked that the teams would resume playing at 8am the next morning.
Guardiola claimed that the IFAB did not consult with managers and players, but it appears that the referees chief, Howard Webb, visits every pre-season Premier League club to explain the new guidelines.
City star De Bruyne expressed concern about the impact longer games will have on players.
The treble winners made 61 games last season and will face an even tougher schedule this term, with next week’s UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla in Athens and the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
“Assuming we’re now playing an extra 15 minutes per game, that says it all,” De Bruyne said.
We talked to Arsenal players and even referees. They don’t even want to do that but this is the new rule and that’s how it is.
“You can only guess what will happen if you play with a lower team that is constantly spending time.”
“I think if we play Sevilla on Wednesday and play 15-20 minutes extra and play again on Saturday (against Newcastle at home), it will be like double overtime. We’ll see how it goes but it doesn’t make any sense.
13 minutes were added to the end of Sunday’s Championship match between Sunderland and Ipswich.
“It will be difficult to get used to,” said Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna. “I understand why they’re trying to do this, but it’s a long game.”
“I’m sure the referees will review how it’s going in a few weeks and I hope they come to a logical middle ground where we see a lot of ballplay and action and eliminate the deliberate waste of time.”
Sunderland coach Tony Mowbray added: “Is this what football will be like now – 13 minutes added? Is that right? I’m not sure. Managers are booked and sent out for ridiculous things. Is that what we have to do for the next 40 weeks? For God’s sake. I feel for the referees. ‘
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