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Arsenal boss fears mental health toll of packed fixture list

Arsenal boss fears mental health toll of packed fixture list
Arsenal boss fears mental health toll of packed fixture list

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has sounded the alarm on the potential for player burnout and mental health problems caused by the relentless football schedule.

Speaking at the Globe Soccer Forum, Arteta warned that the packed fixture list could lead to a crisis in player welfare, with mental fatigue becoming a significant concern.

Mikel Arteta with his award from the Globe Soccer Awards (Photo via Globe Soccer Awards on Twitter)
Mikel Arteta with his award from the Globe Soccer Awards (Photo via Globe Soccer Awards on Twitter)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has expressed serious concerns over the potential for player burnout and mental health issues due to the increasingly demanding football schedule. With the introduction of an expanded Champions League and a month-long FIFA World Club Cup, next season promises to be the busiest on record, intensifying the physical and mental strain on players.

In a recent speech at the Globe Soccer Forum in Sardinia, Arteta highlighted the hidden dangers of mental fatigue, stating, “We forget that we are only counting acute injuries, muscle injuries… But the problem we’re going to have is that one day that player is going to say, ‘I’m not fit to play because mentally I’m not in the right condition.’ You cannot put that player into an MRI scan.”

Mikel Arteta receiving his award at the Globe Soccer Awards from Cesc Fabregas (Photo via Globe Soccer Awards on Twitter)
Mikel Arteta receiving his award at the Globe Soccer Awards from Cesc Fabregas (Photo via Globe Soccer Awards on Twitter)

Arteta‘s concerns were echoed by Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano, who stressed the need to prioritise player health in the face of an ever-expanding fixture list. “We have to decide what’s important, starting with the health of the players,” Soriano said. “We have got into a spiral where everyone is defending each business (competition) and we can’t go on like this.”

The Arsenal manager’s warning comes on the heels of his recognition as the Best Coach Premier League at the Globe Soccer Awards. During his acceptance speech, Arteta emphasised his team’s hunger for trophies and their belief in their ability to win.

However, the punishing schedule poses a significant challenge to these ambitions. With players expected to compete in multiple competitions across a gruelling season, the risk of physical and mental exhaustion is higher than ever.

Arteta‘s concerns about mental health are particularly noteworthy. Unlike physical injuries, mental fatigue is often invisible and difficult to diagnose. Yet, its impact on a player’s performance and well-being can be just as devastating.

As the football calendar continues to expand, the issue of player burnout and mental health is likely to become increasingly prominent. Arteta‘s call for greater attention to this issue highlights the need for a more sustainable approach to scheduling, one that prioritises the well-being of players over the relentless pursuit of profit.