Jonas Eidevall calls for women’s football calendar to put player health first

Jonas Eidevall has called for women’s football to reconsider its congested domestic and international fixture schedule in order to put players’ health first.

Arsenal are dealing with a swathe of injury problems to key first team players, with Leah Williamson, Rafaelle, Kim Little and Beth Mead all currently long-term absentees.

This is currently a common theme across women’s football, with Chelsea boss Emma Hayes voicing similar concerns to Eidevall after Pernille Harder was ruled out for a signficant period of time due to a hamstring injury sustained on international duty.

Arsenal allowed Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley to have time off from club football in February after the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup, while Vivianne Miedema was recently granted a leave of absence to ‘rest and recharge’.

Miedema made her first start since her rest period on Thursday evening, and marked it with a goal as the Gunners drew 1-1 with Juventus in the Champions League group stages.

“There is always the balance between freshness and having continuity in the training and playing,” Eidevall said. “We need to strike that balance. You can see that Viv was fighting really hard today with the team on the pitch.

“I really think we need to consider in women’s football when we see the calendar, how we put the players health first. They are constantly going between really competitive games at club level, onto international level. It has taken a lot of my time thinking about it because my gut says that we are not creating something that is good for the players.

“My idea was to have protected periods for the players with no club football and no international football for a period. At the moment there are players who get barely any vacation and it’s consecutive, year after year after year. It’s great if we’re going to have more competitive games but let’s have a calendar that allows players to recover so we can keep the quality too.”

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