I find it hard to sympathise with football clubs when they lose players on international duty, due to how difficult big clubs have made life for international managers. Sceptical withdrawals regularly occur at international level and freak injuries like this are rare.
If players are seriously injured clubs can block their route to joining up with the team. If Liverpool were aware Fabio Borini wasn’t fit they should have done more to stop the 21 year old joining up with Italian under 21s. Through lack of foresight or a dodgy scan, if Italian reports are true then pardon the pun, Liverpool don’t have a leg to stand on. With the ins and outs of Borini’s injury still unknown and Rodgers public persona showing a relaxed front on the injury, my bias is towards the Italian coaching staff. I believe clubs already hold too much power of international teams, Gareth Bale’s shocking non-injury withdrawal from Team GB was incredibly disrespectful while the number of withdrawals from England friendlies or England youth teams never ceases to amaze me.
Obviously Liverpool have a right to feel aggrieved if it turns Borini’s foot injury was a new problem caused during Italy training. In that incident then Liverpool has a right to ask for compensation but with no more news on that story it is hard to comment further. Footballers are incredibly valuable and expensive, and Liverpool could stand to lose points with one of only two senior strikers missing for an extended time.
Looking at this incident in a wider context it isn’t beyond the realms of expectation for international governing bodies to be made to pay for injuries picked up on duty. But in my opinion this opens up a giant grey area, if a player suffers a freak injury, who’s responsible, if a poor pitch away from home causes damage to a key player, should the team responsible for the player pay the compensation or should the team with the unfit pitch? Also injuries happen all the time in football, should they not be accepted as part of the game. It also sits uneasily with me that Newcastle United got compensation for an injury Michael Owen picked up on international duty, when signing an injury prone player part of me believes that you have to accept you’re not going to have him available for every game.
However on a whole it’s not something I have a serious problem with, decent compensation for players injured on international duty might stop clubs blocking player’s call-ups so regularly and also limits the number of bizarre withdrawals. Clubs hold lots of power of international teams and an expensive compromise might help the relationship between club sides and international teams. For example the compensation given to Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur given by the FA for injuries, may help the relationship between the national team and club’s that are responsible for a lot of their players.
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