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They don’t care if our players get injured: Fifa finally being challenged

By Walter Broeckx

There are a few interesting things in the media about the relations between the clubs and the national teams. And maybe a development that could be important for not only Arsenal but for the future of club football versus international football.

Let us start with the argument between Bayern Munich and the Dutch FA (KNVB). It all started a few weeks before the world cup. Arjen Robben hurt himself in a friendly practice game just before the world cup. The doctor his verdict was a muscle tear. Bye, bye world cup for Robben. But no, the KNVB found a quacksalver somewhere who could do some magic and who could get Robben fit.

Bayern Munich said they didn’t like it very much but they trusted the Dutch medical staff. And look our friend the quack did what he had promised and by some magical trick he could make Robben ready for the tournament. Robben played, visibly not at his best and Holland nearly won the world cup. So far, so good and everybody happy.

But this  changed when Robben went back to Bayern Munich and the doctors discovered that the injury was not healed at all. No they found out that the initial tear was bigger than first. They described it by saying that Robben had a hole in his muscle.

So Bayern was not happy at when they found out that it would take Robben some 5 to 6 months to recover from the injury. So Bayern complained at the KNVB, as we had done before, and they asked a large sum from the KNVB to cover the loss Bayern is facing because Robben is not fit and they still have to pay him his wages. But the KNVB brushed the Bayern claims away. They did not want to pay any money to cover the loss for Bayern.

Some negotiations have been held in the past weeks but the KNVB is sticking to  ‘we don’t pay you one eurocent’.

Bayern has said that if the KNVB doesn’t want to pay anything they will go to court and try to get their money through court. And like Rummenige, from the Bayern board has said: if we win this, this could be a case that changes the relations between the clubs and Fifa and the national teams.

Now clubs can only let their players go and hope they come back in one piece. And if they come back in pieces, its up to the club to pay the bills and to find a solution. So the international federations are having the upper hand in relation to the clubs. But if a court would declare that the international federations are responsible for the players they borrow from the clubs this could change. And also it would change the mindset of the international federations. They would say to the coaches: Now wait a minute, if you know a player is injured you can not let him play because otherwise we will have to pay his wages for months if he cannot play for his club”.

Because those coaches are employed by the countries they don’t care if a player cannot play for his club for a while. Look at Van Persie who could be recalled for a friendly if he would be fit to play for us in the next weeks. You got to be joking there, Van Marwijck.

Another example seems to be Thomas Vermaelen.  As on Monday we have a talk show about football in our country and there was a strange quote. Now I must say that I did not see it myself but I was told about it by a fellow Gooner over here. So I really cannot stick my neck out on this but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if what follows is the truth.

In that talk show on TV the assistant coach of the Belgium national team was talking about the Red Devils, as they are called (much red an just a little bit of Devil in fact). And he was talking about how much the players do like to play for the team. The players even play with an injury he added and then he said: ‘like Vermaelen did’.

When I was informed about this by our fellow Gooner I nearly threw away my computer. I was gutted, I was frustrated, I was furious. Because he just said in fact that Vermaelen was injured before he started his last game for Belgium. And apparently Vermaelen, as a captain usually does, wanted to play. Well not much wrong there as every player wants to play.

But the Belgian FA (KBVB) knew he was injured on his Achilles and they took the gamble of playing him. And every doctor knows that playing with an injury on an Achilles can cause a lot of long term trouble. You have to rest from the moment you have troubles in that part of the body. But now the doctors let Vermaelen play despite his pain and injury and now we can pay the price.

So maybe we could hope that Bayern Munich goes to court and come out as the winner. It will make coaches and national football federations think before risking a player to be injured for a long while. And maybe doctors will be instructed to not risk a player any more for an international game as it could be that the price they have to pay would be that high.

Footnote: in the interest of international harmony Walter and Tony have agreed that in future Untold Arsenal articles should aim to use more words that are Dutch terms which have come to England, or English words that have gone Dutch (as it were).  Today we introduce quacksalver – a Dutch word that moved into English in the 16th century (it’s on Dictionary.com – honest).  You don’t get this sort of education on other blogs you know.

Untold: you read it here first, unless of course you didn’t

Woolwich Arsenal: where we came from, and why we went there

Making the Arsenal: and how we nearly went somewhere else instead

Arsenal Worldwide: for those who are already there

18 comments to They don’t care if our players get injured: Fifa finally being challenged

  • Simon

    Tony, I think we just shorten Quacksalver to ‘Quack’ and you are right it is in the dictionary!

    Anyway International football is crap, the last world cup turned into a very painful thing, all the teams playing to the same formula with varying degrees of defensive caution (except perhaps Chile) to the background din of those blasted horns, it was truly horrible I stopped watching the damned thing!

    Also it is played for the enrichment of FIFA a leach like organization if ever there was one, you bribe them to give you ‘their’ tournament suck up to them wine them dine them and bribe them some more and then if you ‘win’ you must spend huge billions to set-up stadia, roads, rail, hotels, security all that then it is played by players who someone else (I.e. not FIFA) pays (Arsenal!) but of course the whole of the profits go to FIFA! What a Scam!

    The clubs have the ultimate power, they must use it to break this Corrupt Crooked Leach. FICK FUFA Indeed!

  • Simon

    Sorry, I mean’t Walter…

  • rocks

    I cannot believe that they played the verminator while injured, surley he has to respect ARSENAL who pays his wages. Me personelly i would not pay him one pence & tell him to collect his money from fifa.Then maybe the player might take some responsability for his own actions. I hope van the man doesn`t play this up and coming fixture for the dutch. If he comes back injured again then sell him he`s no good to us in the treatment room (another sicknote like that spud player)

  • Omar

    @rocks, Why can’t you believe they played Verminator while injured? They did the same to Bentner.

  • Paul

    Hi
    What happens when the smaller nations have a top player and he gets injury during a national game, would national federation have to pay his wages?
    This could bankrupt some of the smaller national federation!
    Paul

  • Gooner Gal

    Walter this will be very interesting to follow, especially as it is a top EU club challenging the rules. The int’l friendlies have spiralled out of control and clubs have been shown a great deal of disrespect over their players. As it would set a big president, I would be suprised if FIFA allowed it to get to court. It will be such a shame if it is resolved behind closed doors. FIFA really need to modernise in so many ways.

  • toby

    Don’t clubs buy some sort of workman’s compensation / disability policy?

    These policies ensure that if an employee (player) is injured on the job, then the insurance carrier (a) picks up a share of the medical bills, depending on the deductible; and (b) picks up the tab for the wages due the employee (player) while he is out injured….

    I would be very, very surprised – nay, shocked – if Arsenal does not have this type of policy, since they are so fiscally prudent in all other areas. They are expensive, but do provide a measure of protection for the club.

    Of course, this is an industry that is very performance-oriented and results-oriented. You cannot easily quantify the insured’s premium or the insurance carrier’s liability if a player goes out injured….

    I’m afraid Walter that if Arsenal does carry an insurance policy, then much of your argument goes out of the window. It would boil down to ethics and what is the ethical thing for a national association to do. Of course, if they paid a part of the clubs’ premiums, they could do whatever the hell they wanted to…..

  • Wrenny

    @toby,
    I believe all top clubs have those insurance policies for players if they suffer long-term injuries or are forced to retire. But so what? If it is Arsenal’s insurance policy that is paying out, then it’s still Arsenal and their insurance premiums paying for the injuries. It should come out of the national associations’ pockets and their player insurance as they are the one who have injured the player.

    It’s absolutely inexcusable for national managers to take such risks with somebody else’s players. According to this article, the Belgium coaches knew Vermaelen was carrying a very delicate Achilles injury and played him regardless. And they knew full well that Arsenal would be the ones to suffer the consequences of their decision.

  • Red Gooner

    Tell me have the clubs any authority to point blank refuse to allow a player to turn up at these matches while injured.

    Did we know Vermalen was injured and still allow him go seen as Arsenal are his employers ?

    One thing that really annoyed me in the past how players while injured can still go join up with squads and give them moral support etc, shouldnt they be back at base getting treatment and working on fitness rather than that crap Van Persie has done it several times and is always somewhere else getting treatment even frikken Horse placenta in holland ?

    How the hell do we allow that ? are our physios so crap we think allowing VP to bugger off and get horse placenta rubbed on a leg is better ?

  • wenger fan

    I thought Wenger wanted to sue the Dutch FA at one time over RVP’s injury? anyupdate on this? as i can’t find anything online¬¬

  • Arsene Apprentice

    So confused… Why can’t the players refuse to play? I am injured I don’t play. We have a whole segment on Untold of injuries. Week after week our players cannot contribute because of this and that. I often complain that when I played competitively I played no matter what and Arsenal seem to sit players often enough. And, these players play injured for the national side? It sounds like the reverse no? WTF?

  • Jimmie

    What the rules for a player to retired from international duty? because Adebayor already retired although he is only 25.
    Can’t RVP retired?

  • Dark Prince

    I really dont know how the national coach thinks. I mean, if u play a guy who is half injured and then risk gettin him injured for a long duration and hence his form might suffer. And this inturn will affect the national side. So why does the national coach use him in the 1st place?? Really cant explain…

  • rocks

    @Omar, perhaps im old skool my loylty would lie with the people who pay my wages so i can feed my family. I would just say no to being played in the national team if injured. If i was van ill be very worried about getting back in the arsenal team and tell the dutch fa were to go

  • wen_detta

    it’s all depend on the player itself..set clause in the contract if they get injured during international, there’ll be deduction in their salary depending on the matches that they missed..i think it could be work for all parties..it’ll make everybody cautious especially the player itself…just a thought

  • walter

    I think a player can retire at any time but most players do not want to do this because they would miss the chance of playing at a world cup or a european championship. I can understand this feeling by a player but wouldn’t do it.

    If a player tells his national team he cant play because of a injury he cannot play for his club in the following 4 days I think. So it would mean he could miss the next league game.

  • Arsenal_stevie

    I think any international friendly should not be played during the season, anyway their a waste of time for everyone. Fa should introduce xmas break and fifa should move them during that period and summer. But as Dark Prince has stated why play someone half injured? i mean its quite obvious that its bad for club and country. Also i think ibrahimovic stance to friendlies is one that should be adopted by many players and more importantly arsenal players. As he says “why play a friendly they are a waste of time? what have i got to prove?” Thats definatly something vermaelen, v.persie, cesc, arshavin, sagna bendtner and co. do. I mean its hardly like there trying to break into the squad (well cesc is) but anyway thier prety much first choice regulars for thier countries.

  • Steve Palmer

    Good Blog this one.
    It appears to me that what happens in older internationals, is the thought of there pensions stopping if they get injured playing for there countries, players like Shearer. Carragher and quite a few others have retired from international duties because they know the old money pot would dry up completley if they got a bad one,its up to the players themselves to realise if a friendly is worth the trouble it could cause, i urge only the foreign intenationals to think about retireing from all internationals.