The mid-season World Cup in Qatar last year led to players in Europe’s top five leagues spending an average of eight more days on the sidelines due to injuries in the months following the tournament, a study has revealed.
Insurance group Howden published its injury rate in European football for the 2022-23 season, a year after the World Cup, after having studied the effects that match congestion had on player well-being during the season. pass.
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The study said that in October 2022, 88 recorded injuries caused players to be sidelined for 11.35 days on average before the tournament, but that figure increased to 19.41 days in January 2023 after the tournament.
Injuries to the ankle (170%), calf/shin (200%), and hamstring (130%) saw the largest increase in severity.
“We have clearly seen that holding a men’s World Cup in a European winter led to players facing eight more days off in the second half of the season, compared to the first,” said the sporting director of Howden, James Burrows. .
“The impact was consistent across all domestic leagues, such as the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga.”
Burrows added that the increased severity of injuries contributed to the financial impact increasing by almost 30%, from €553.62 million ($603.83 million) to €704.89 million ($768.93 million). dollars) in the five main leagues in Europe.
“The data is clear in demonstrating a trend,” he added.
“We hope that our research and analysis will provide Europe’s top clubs with additional information as they continue to speak to the game’s governing bodies about better aligning domestic and international calendars and the broad issue of match congestion.”
The study showed there were 3,985 injuries across Europe’s top five leagues over the course of the 2022-23 season.
The English Premier League and German Bundesliga had 23.6% and 14.8% of players competing in the World Cup, respectively, and saw the biggest impact on injury rates.
“In the two months after the tournament, Bundesliga players… suffered 46 injuries, compared to 49 in the English Premier League, suggesting that the extended winter break in Germany after the men’s World Cup proved to have minimal effect,” the study said.
Earlier this year, international players’ union FIFPRO said nearly half of players competing in the World Cup experienced extreme or greater mental fatigue during an unprecedented season of match congestion.
Around 44% of players experienced more physical fatigue and 23% more mental fatigue in January compared to other seasons, while 53% felt more prone to injury.