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Wenger calls on FIFA to probe player withdrawals

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-11-21

As key players withdrew from international friendlies this week to be on form for club matches, Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger wants FIFA and UEFA to investigate the old club vs country debate.

 

LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants FIFA and UEFA to investigate if players who missed this week's international friendlies line up for their clubs this weekend or in Champions League games next week.

 

"Theoretically, if you do not play in the national team, you cannot play in the game after in the championship - that is the rule," Wenger told reporters on Thursday.

 

"It would be very interesting for FIFA and UEFA to make a study of any players who have not played in any national team, and who will play on Saturday or on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Champions League."

 

England were hit by the withdrawal of a host of key players, including injured duo Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard, before their friendly with Germany in Berlin on Wednesday.

 

The timing of this week's plethora of friendlies has continued the club versus country debate, with many managers fearing that key players will pick up injuries at a hectic stage of the season.

 

"The sad situation in that friendly game, mid-November, before games five and six in the Champions League and before important fixtures in the Leagues, is that many players have pulled out because this friendly is very badly positioned," added Wenger.

 

"We never withdraw any player. Our players, unless they have a big injury, we send them. We ask them to be cautious with them, especially in friendly games, and this usually happens with national teams, because they are not crazy.

 

"But this game was not well positioned because it doesn't prepare them. There is no official game before March now and it is just in front of very important games for the clubs."

 

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will not return to action until next year after dislocating his shoulder during training with England on Tuesday.

 

Walcott was originally expected to miss three months, but after undergoing surgery on Thursday morning, Arsenal Wenger believes he could face an even longer spell on the sidelines.

 

"I do not blame the FA for that. It was an accident in training and I accept that," he said.

 

"Theo will be out for three months, but it is not the first game where he comes back. That is difficult to predict because we have had experience of a player coming back from such an injury. It takes some time to get used to that."

Date created : 2008-11-21

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