Raphael Varane 'declares war' on the FA with passionate statement, he's had enough
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Following a meeting with the FA, Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has released a strongly-worded statement expressing his concerns over fixture congestion and players' well-being.
The upcoming 2023/24 Premier League season will see a number of rule changes introduced, with games likely to run longer as a result.
Referees will now be obliged to time interruptions before restarts after a goal, a substitution, injury, or set-piece. In fact, one match official told Sky Sports it will be a 'rarity' if a top-flight game lasts less than 100 minutes.
Ultimately, those in charge want to clamp down on time-wasting. Last season, Opta found the ball was in play in England's top flight for an average of just 54 minutes and 49 seconds.
This, however, will likely change as a result of the latest rule changes.
With the new regulations having been agreed by IFAB and PGMOL, Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane has made his feelings clear ahead of the new campaign.
In a statement on his official Twitter account, the France international said the rule changes are "damaging the game".
He wrote: "We had a meeting last week with the FA. They recommended from the referees new decisions and rules.
"From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players physical and mental well-being.
"Despite our previous feedbacks, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity, and less emotions to be shown by players.
"We just want to be in good condition on the pitch to give 100% to our club and fans. Why are our opinions not being heard?"
Varane added: "As a player I feel very privileged to do the job I love every day but I feel these changes are damaging our game. We want to be at our maximum level, the best we can be and put on amazing performances for fans to celebrate every week.
"I believe it is important that we, players and managers, highlight these important issues as we want to protect the game we love and give the fans our best."
Here's how social media reacted to Varane's post.
One fan said: "You have just declared war against the @FA_PGMOL & the @FA and I’m completely here for it. We could see for ourselves how tough and demanding the fixtures were for us last season from the end of the World Cup to the end of April."
A second wrote: "Varane has been consistent on this over the years. He believes there is too much football being played and it is near impossible for players to be at 100% and cope with the physical and mental demands."
A third commented: "The FA needs to protect our players and the game! We are with you Rapha."
A fourth added: "Are we going to continue to ignore the players? Far too many games at the moment. Last season showed too many games = poor quality football especially at the end of last season. We need to get a grip of this."
Thoughts on Varane's statement?
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