Jamie Carragher and former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have claimed that FIFA don’t care about player welfare after Belgium were beaten 2-1 in the UEFA Nations League third-placed game against Italy.
Courtois, 29, has delivered a scathing assessment of the two biggest governing bodies in world football in the form of UEFA and FIFA after he was not impressed that he and his Red Devils team had to compete in a pointless third-placed playoff in the newly formed competition.
Belgium and Italy were both defeated in the semi-finals against Spain and France respectively but this didn’t mean the end of the tournament for both teams as third place had to be settled with another match.
With such a tight international schedule sandwiched in between important club fixtures for all the players involved with these countries in the latter stages of the Nations League, the 29-year-old didn’t see the point of having to play what he viewed as a meaningless game.
In fact, the tall shot-stopper went one step further in accusing the big footballing bodies of not caring enough about the players’ welfare during this tournament and how that could affect many next weekend when they all return to club action.
He said after the Red Devils’ 2-1 defeat to Roberto Mancini’s side: “This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it.
“We played this game because for UEFA it’s extra money and it’s an extra game on TV and for us, okay it’s a good game because it’s against Italy but once coaches say no to wanting to play this game, of course we are made to play.
“Look at how much both teams changed [line ups] and how many other players played from our side, so if both teams would have been in the final- other players would have played.
“This just shows that we play too many games- in June again, four Nations League games, why?
“Next year, we have a World Cup in November and we have to play till the latter stages of June again and we will get injured and nobody cares about the players anymore.
“In June, after a long season, you have to play four games again in the Nations League and you will only have two weeks of holiday.
“That isn’t enough for players to be able to continue to perform on the highest level and if we never are going to say anything then it’s always going to be the same.
“Then they propose the Super League which is just extra games, adding an extra trophy in the Conference Cup or whatever the name is- it’s always the same.
“They can be angry about other teams wanting the Super League but they don’t care about the players, they just care about their pockets.
“That’s a bad thing if players are not spoken about and then you hear that they want to put in a European Championship and World Cup every year, like when will we get a rest- never.
“So, in the end, only top players will continually get injured and then that’s the end of it, so it should be much better than this for us.
“We are robots and more and more games for us means that nobody cares about us.”
The views conveyed in the Real Madrid goalkeeper’s passionate rant-type interview are reflected by former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher who praised Courtois for standing up against this mistreatment from the governing bodies.
He tweeted: “Brilliant interview Thibaut Courtois- everything he says is right, especially about 3rd place play offs in tournaments, an absolute waste of time those games.”
It has been reported that the former Chelsea man will be fined for his controversial rant in the next few days.