The club vs country debate
The ongoing dispute between Brazil and Real Madrid (the two most successful sides at international and club level), recently resolved in Real Madrid’s favor, has once again brought this issue into the spotlight.
With the G14 suing the organizing bodies, and clubs in several countries demanding compensation for players severely injured while on international duty, sooner or later steps will be taken, either jointly or unilaterally to resolve this once and for all.
Real Madrid will play Real Mallorca on Sunday, June 17th needing a win to secure the 2006-2007 Spanish 1st Division title. Brazil will begin playing the Copa America on June 26th. The problem arose because of FIFA statutes saying that players called up to participate in officially sanctioned tournaments must report to their national teams 14 days before the competition begins.
Who is in the right here? On the one hand FIFA statutes have been in place for a long time, and there is the age old argument that clubs shouldn’t complain about players being called up by their national teams as this raises their caches and profiles (and subsequently, their price tags).
On the other hand, however, it is the clubs, and not the federations, who pay the players. When a player is injured while on international duty, the national team can simply replace him, sooner or later, by selecting another, while the club sees it’s asset – unfortunately, what players are – fall in value, and pay his wages while injured not working for the company that pays him. In any other profession a situation like this would be so absurd that it would only cause laughter.
Do FIFA and federations abuse their position? And if so, what should be done about it? In my opinion they do, and I’d like to hear what others think.
Ed’s note: This article suggests (rather, it reports that Robinho’s agent suggests) that Robinho may defy the wishes of the Brazilian Football Conferation (CFB) and stick around Madrid to beat Mallorca and celebrate winning La Liga with his Real Madrid club mates (oh, how biased can we be? 🙂 ).