The head of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has admitted that the relentless soccer calendar might lead players to seek legal recourse.

Players have long griped about the jam-packed schedules caused by the proliferation of local leagues, international duty, and other contests.

The PFA are hopeful that new opportunities may arise due to last week’s decision by the European Court of Justice.

It seemed to limit the power of governing bodies to alter the schedule. As the calendar becomes more and more packed, they want to ensure members aren’t obligated to commit to matches.

The background for this is the growing disillusionment among players with the emotional and physical toll that playing too many matches takes.

Injuries and exhaustion are common because of the fast-paced nature of the game. Worse still, players have very little time to recuperate afterward.

The PFA is said to be determined to see that players’ rights are properly protected. Thus, they are looking into all possible possibilities, including legal ones, to put pressure on the football authorities to do something.

“I feel like we’ve reached a stage where people are ready to take legal action, where people are ready to take tangible action on the pitch to try to resolve it, because it’s a sad state of affairs.

“I think it’s a defeat for football when the players need to take the justice in their own hands because they don’t feel protected”, Maheta Molango, chief executive of the PFA, told Sky Sports.

More games, more problems

The addition of new competitions and the extension of old ones has worsened the problem of overcrowded soccer schedules.

In the next season, the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League will be extended to accommodate 36 clubs. An additional increase will see an eight-match Group Stage compared to the current one of six.

A new addition is a two-legged play-off concerning clubs who finish in positions nine through 24. It will determine which club advances to the last 16 based on their position in the extended table.

What’s more, after the 2025-26 season, there will be a 48-team FIFA World Cup with a round of 32. “I think they are [killing soccer]. But I think that the players are ready now to take a strong stance.

“I do think that the authorities who are supposed to protect the players and protect the games are not doing that. They are generating more competitions, generating more income to the detriment of the players”, he added.

Heated discussions over schedule changes are nothing new

There has been an already heated discussion over schedule changes and player welfare. Almost every manager in the Premier League has spoken out against the increasing schedule. However, this new turn of events has taken it to a new level.

“What we all seem to forget is that ultimately, they’re all using the same assets – and I’m using the word assets for purpose because they all want to milk the same cow.

“And it’s just impossible because ultimately, the players – for as much as they are privileged people who make a very good living – the human body only allows you to do so much”, the executive ended.

Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images IMAGO / PA Images.