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FIFPro has hosted a meeting of a newly-established task force which is looking into concerns about the health and performance of footballers in an increasingly congested competition calendar.

Subjects discussed included the risk of injury to leading footballers because of their busy schedule, the length of mid-season and off-season breaks, the international match calendar of FIFA and international travel arrangements for both men’s and women’s football.

The task force consists of senior union officials Bobby Barnes (England), Steven Bryce (Costa Rica), Stephane Burchkalter (France), John Didulica (Australia), Richard Jobson (England), Geremi Njitap (Cameroon), Becca Roux (United States) and Caroline Jönsson (Sweden). The FIFPro representatives are Jonas Baer-Hoffman, Caitlin Fisher and Dr. Vincent Gouttebarge.

Photo above: Steven Bryce, who played 73 times for Costa Rica, and Geremi, who played 118 times for Cameroon, listen to a discussion about the match calendar at FIFPro headquarters. Bryce is executive director of the Costa Rica player association and Geremi is president of the Cameroon player association.

The group has been set up to make sure the voice of players is heard as a raft of new competition formats are devised.

FIFPro is surveying national-team players on a range of related issues including the number of matches they play per season and whether they have enough time to recover during and after the season.

For its first meeting this week at FIFPro headquarters in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, the task force was joined by a delegation from FIFA.

FIFPro and FIFA in November signed a six-year cooperation agreement to work on a wide range of issues including the health of players, the transfer system, the international match calendar and the promotion of women’s football.

The world footballers’ association is pleased that FIFA recognizes its concerns about player wellbeing and looks forward to continuing discussions that find common ground between both organizations and other football stakeholders.

While the match schedule is different for men’s and women’s football, FIFPro is confident that football can find basic global conditions that improve the calendar for all parties.

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