Denmark forced to call up futsal players for Wales clash

Yahoo Sport UK

Denmark have named a second-string side including futsal players for their Nations League match against Wales following a dispute with first-team regulars.

If the Danish Football Association (DBU) had failed to name a squad, the team, who are ninth in the world rankings and reached the last 16 at this year’s World Cup, could have been thrown out of the 2020 European Championship.

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Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet reported the squad includes players from the national futsal team, a five-a-side soccer game played mainly indoors on small hard courts.

Coach Aage Hareide will not be in charge of the team as the DBU does not want him to manage a side he did not pick himself.

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The DBU’s dispute with surrounds Danish players’ ability to make individual sponsorship agreements with companies competing with national team sponsors.

The stand-off is thought to be based around the DBU’s desire for more flexible rules about using players in commercial contexts, while the Spillerforeningen – the footballers’ union of Denmark – wants sponsorship deals to focus on the team instead of individuals.

The DBU is said to have rejected an offer from Spillerforeningen to play the friendly with Slovakia on Wednesday and the game with Wales under a temporary extension of their previous deal.

Last year, the women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier with Sweden over a pay dispute. The DBU was fined and warned Denmark could be excluded from any UEFA tournament if another match was cancelled in the next four years.

Denmark and Tottenham Hotspur and star Christian Eriksen has insisted money is not the priority for the squad.

“We’re here to solve this conflict now, not just dig the ditches deeper,” Eriksen said in a statement published on the Spillerforeningen website.

“We could all be at home with our clubs, who pay our wages – at home with our wives and children. There is only one reason we are here, and it’s not money.

“We’re here because we love to play for Denmark and are proud of the many millions we play for and the breadth of Danish football, and the work we do for the whole of Danish football – for example, meeting up for the DBU events and their sponsors, as we have always done.”

DBU communications manager Jakob Hoyer insisted this week they did not want to discuss a new deal on the eve of matches and be forced into an unsatisfactory agreement.

“We do not want to negotiate so close to international matches,” he said. “That was what happened in 2015 and led to a historically poor national team agreement that has created so many problems.”

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