Man United’s Varane says players’ welfare ignored over added time rules

As part of the new regulations, referees will add the exact time lost in goal celebrations, substitutions or injuries to the stoppage time.

Varane retired from international football at the age of 29 earlier this year, likening the slog of the top-level game to being in the cycle of a washing machine [Lindsey Parnaby/AFP]

The new rules that English Football has enacted to avoid time wasting will increase player workload in an already packed schedule, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has said as he slammed authorities for ignoring player concerns.

As part of the new regulations, referees will add the exact time lost in goal celebrations, substitutions or injuries to the stoppage time. In previous seasons, the policy was to aggregate a nominal period of time.

There were eight minutes of added time in the second half of Arsenal’s victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield, while several matches in the second-tier championship’s first round of games had 10 or more minutes of added time.

“From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players physical and mental wellbeing,” Varane said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Despite our previous feedbacks, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity, and less emotions to be shown by players,” the World Cup winner said.

“We just want to be in good condition on the pitch to give 100 percent to our club and fans. Why are our opinions not being heard?” he added.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also criticised the officiating changes after the Premier League champions conceded an equaliser in the 11th minute of stoppage time.

“What is their opinion, we have to accept it. Now the games will be 100 minutes, that’s for sure,” Guardiola told reporters on Sunday.

“It never happened today and it was eight minutes. Imagine if they extend for goals and every time you score a goal in a game [that is] 4-3. You put 30 seconds, 45 seconds on for seven goals, tomorrow morning, 9am, I am here, playing,” he added.

Football ruling body FIFA found 10 minutes and 11 seconds of added time were played on average in Qatar, an increase on the average for the previous World Cup finals in Russia, but also found effective playing time was up in Qatar by more than four minutes compared with Russia.

However, the effect of the extra added time on players over a sustained period has already been highlighted by their global union FIFPRO, which reported earlier this year that the changes would amount to the equivalent of up to three extra games per season for players with the highest existing workloads.

The Community Shield also demonstrated how officials would enforce new rules established to improve the behaviour of players, managers and fans, with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta being shown a yellow card for protesting against a refereeing decision on the touchline.

“I just said, ‘Listen, I cannot change my behaviour in three days,'” Arteta told reporters of his yellow card.

Source: News Agencies