Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
Blatter proposes calendar reform :glasses:
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has claimed he may intervene to limit the number of matches in domestic leagues as he believes that footballers play too many games.
Blatter believes many players were jaded during Euro 2004 and reckons the answer lies in reducing the number of games.
He told L'Equipe: 'I enjoyed Euro 2004 but I was also a little saddened and forced to reflect.
'Like at the 2002 World Cup many stars were physically and mentally exhausted and left an aftertaste of nonchalance and lassitude.
'(Zinedine) Zidane seemed to be hiding against the Greeks and was not looking for the ball.
'If on the other hand the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year had been at the top of his game he would have run after the ball in decisive moments.'
Eventual winners Greece eliminated defending champions France in the quarter-finals.
Blatter went on: 'There are too many games and especially at club level.
'The international calendar of FIFA is well structured and not overloaded.
'The total number of matches is correct and the relationship between club competitions and national team competitions is balanced.
'There are too many games especially in the national league. Some associations organise championships with 20 teams, even more. We must absolutely reduce the figure. Less (teams) means more (quality).'
Blatter made it clear he was prepared to act to enforce that demand.
'We must therefore intervene to break the rhythm, protect footballers and therefore football.
'We must find a balance between the interest of the clubs and of the national teams. It is a big building site that we must work at.'
Blatter added: 'I have said it - 20 clubs is too much, 18 is the limit.
'But in reality it is not a question of fixing a ceiling of clubs but of dates. Cases are different from one country to another whether there are one or two domestic cups, two-legged matches or not.
'We will impose a limit via FIFA statutes either by congress or by the executive committee. We will see how we will get there.'
Blatter also slammed top clubs for complaining about international friendlies when they take players on lucrative pre-season matches abroad.
'The big clubs complain that their players are tired or injured but during the close-season they are increasing lucrative tournaments a long way away. It's not serious,' he said.