The Scotland captain, Andy Robertson, has urged Fifa and Uefa to consider the wellbeing of players when deciding how many internationals can take place in June.
A provisional plan exists for Scotland to play their delayed World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine in early June. That would be followed by a final against Wales just days later. With Scotland due to play four Nations League matches in the same month, there exists a potential scenario where they face half a dozen games during what traditionally would be time off.
Robertson said: “From a football point of view, I don’t think it’s fair to ask players to play six games in June when our summer break is already being cut short because of the World Cup during the season. A lot has been said about player welfare over the last couple of years and I hope that’s at the front of it.
“All the players are going to have to go through it and to ask players to have only two weeks off in a whole year is unacceptable.
“I hope that the decision about the games in the summer is taken wisely. Whenever Ukraine can play the game then we have to play it, whether that’s September or October or whenever it has to be. It has to be on their terms and other games can make way for the most important ones.”
Robertson, like everyone involved in the Scotland setup, stresses football is secondary to events in Ukraine. Yet, in a professional sense, the Liverpool full-back harbours clear concerns about the June workload. “It’s a lot after an intense season for everyone,” he said. “The games have to be played and four has to be the maximum. We are already going to the 14th, that’s not the start of June that’s well into June.
“All the boys are back at the latest by the start of July. The Scottish [based] boys are back well before that, the Championship boys are back well before then. You are asking boys to have eight or nine days’ holiday, which I don’t think is fair. That’s why I hope it doesn’t go further than the 14th and that football and player welfare is at the forefront of the decision to be made around June.”
Robertson will return from an enforced coronavirus absence to play in the friendly against Austria on Tuesday evening.
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