After the Winter World Cup in Qatar, injuries to European footballers increased. This led to an annual increase of nearly 30% in the costs to clubs for their players to be sidelined.
A report from City of London-based insurance company Howden Group Holdings Ltd. revealed that clubs in Europe’s top five leagues were hit with a €704.9 ($767M) injury bill last season. This is up from €553.6 from the previous season. The report uses players’ salaries to calculate the cost of injury.
The Premier League in England was the hardest hit. It accounted for more than 40% of all costs across the five leagues. The Premier League suffered 49 injuries, which is more than any other division. The Bundesliga in Germany was second with 46 injuries.
James Burrows is Howden’s director of sport. “The staging of the men’s World Cup during a European winter caused players to spend an additional eight days in the sidelines compared to the beginning of the season,” he said. Injury in October forced players to miss an average of 11.4 days, while injuries in January led to a 19.4-day layoff. This comparison was made only for players who were named to the World Cup squads.
World Cups usually take place during the summer months in Europe, when clubs do not play. Qatar’s controversial selection as the host country last year led to an exception. The tournament began a year earlier on November 20, 2022 and ended on December 18, when Lionel Messi’s Argentina won the final in a dramatic match against France.
Report: The 417 World Cup players suffered 225 injuries from November 2022 to February of this year. Footballers and managers of note have expressed concern about injuries caused by the congestion in fixtures. After a summer where countries competed in Euro 2024, the Champions League, Europe’s premier tournament, will expand to include more matches next season.
Last season, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest, and Chelsea were the Premier League clubs that suffered the most injuries. Manchester City, the Premier League champions, had fewer injuries last season than any club in the top 8.