FIFPRO is disappointed and concerned by the lack of consultation of professional footballers in the scheduling of the AFC Champions League in Qatar and the planning of COVID-19 protocols. These matters have implications for their mental and physical health as well as their participation in domestic leagues.
Neither FIFPRO nor our affiliated player associations in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea – which together represent players from 12 of the 16 competing clubs - were asked about the competition for the eastern AFC region prior to the announcement. Furthermore, we have not received any information about the outbreak of COVID-19 in the tournament’s so-called “medical bubble” during the western AFC region competition in September.
Players due to compete in the three-week competition in Qatar from Nov. 18 have expressed concerns to their national player associations about travelling during the pandemic and having to face a two-week quarantine period on their return that will keep them apart from their families, or interfere with their participation in domestic championships and training.
As the globally recognised representative of professional footballers, we respectfully call for openness and direct consultation in the Asian football competition planning decisions as happens in other continents. It is necessary now more than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The players whose health, financial situation and careers are on the line deserve to be part of these decisions.
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