In a bold and passionate statement, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has criticized the recently introduced changes to injury time and dissent rules in football. Varane, a former France international and World Cup winner, believes that these alterations are “damaging our game” and are not taking players’ opinions into account.
The new rules, implemented by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), aim to create fairer conditions for both teams in terms of the amount of time available in a match. Matches will now have more injury time to accurately reflect stoppages in play, a move that was witnessed during the recent Qatar World Cup.
However, Varane argues that the extended injury time and tougher punishments for dissenting behaviour are having a negative impact on players’ physical and mental well-being. Speaking out on social media, the 30-year-old expressed concerns about the congested schedule and the increased intensity that may result from these changes.
“As players and managers, we have shared our concerns for many years about the overcrowded schedule and the dangers it poses to our physical and mental health,” Varane stated. “Despite our feedback, the recommendations for longer games and less emotional displays by players have been given for next season. Why are our opinions not being heard?”
The Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, was among those criticizing the new injury time rule after his team conceded a late goal in the Community Shield. Guardiola accused the decision-makers of not consulting those involved in the game and suggested that extending match durations may lead to time-wasting and player fatigue.
While some managers, like Gareth Ainsworth of QPR, remain skeptical about the changes, Charlton Athletic boss Dean Holden supports the bid to have more playing time. He suggested that an alternative approach could involve the fourth official or someone in the stadium managing the match time.
Apart from injury time adjustments, the new rules also emphasize tougher punishments for poor behavior on and off the pitch. Various football governing bodies, including the Football Association, Premier League, English Football League, and Women’s Super League, have launched a ‘participant charter’ to ensure fair play and proper conduct during games.
Last season, the FA issued over 20 fines to Premier League clubs for surrounding match officials or mass confrontations, totaling more than £1 million. The protocols for the new season include mandatory pre-match briefings for team managers and restrictions on unauthorized personnel in the technical area.
As the debate over these new rules continues, Varane emphasizes the need for players and managers to highlight the important issues surrounding the game. He believes it is crucial to protect the sport they love and deliver exceptional performances that fans can celebrate every week.
Raphael Varane’s outspoken remarks shed light on the concerns of players and managers about the recent changes in football rules. With both support and skepticism from various parties, the impact of these alterations on the game and players’ well-being remains a topic of intense discussion. As the new season unfolds, the football world will closely monitor the effects of these rule changes and their implications for the beautiful game we all cherish.