Manchester United had the joint highest number of injuries throughout the 2022/23 campaign which included the Qatar World Cup taking place for a month mid-season – while the tournament hit Chelsea financially
Premier League players spent eight extra days injured on the sidelines after the World Cup, according to new research.
It shows the huge impact the mid-season tournament had on top flight stars and also reveals a sharp rise in ankle, calf and hamstring injuries because of the extra demand on top flight stars.
The Howden’s 2022/23 European Football Injury Index also reveals that Manchester United had the joint most injuries throughout the campaign with 69 while Chelsea had the costliest based on lost days through their wage bill.
The report has become the most respected and in-depth across Europe’s top five leagues and shows that recorded injuries in October 2022 saw players out for an average of 11.35 days compared to 19.41 days in January 2023.
That sharp rise of eight days shows the impact of the Qatar World Cup and, even though the number of injuries fell in the Premier League by 23 per cent, players were actually out for longer periods which again could be as a result of the winter tournament.
Manchester United and Nottingham Forest suffered from the joint-highest number of injuries across the season (69). Chelsea registered the highest total injury cost, with 68 injury instances costing £40.07m. Fulham (27) and Brentford (28) saw the fewest instances of injury.
It is a powerful message for the Professional Footballers’ Association as the players’ union campaigns for more breaks and better scheduling as well as a global calendar to ease the strain on members.
The Premier League had 946 injuries overall in the season – down from 1,231 the previous season – but the length of time for those injuries rise dramatically with the average number of days going up from 16.02 to 23.62.
The total recorded injury cost was £255.41m which is a £70.84m increase on the 2021/22 season which underlines the impact and cost to clubs of the winter World Cup and is another warning ahead of the 2034 tournament to be held in Saudi Arabia.
James Burrows, Head of Sport, Howden said: “We’ve seen clearly that the staging of a men’s World Cup in a European winter led to players facing an extra eight days on the sidelines in the second half of the season, compared to the first.
“The impact was consistent across domestic leagues such as the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga, with the increased injury severity contributing to the financial impact rising by almost 30% from €553.62m to €704.89m across the top five men’s European leagues.
“The data is clear in demonstrating a trend, and we hope our research and analysis will provide Europe’s top clubs with additional insight as they continue to talk to the game’s governing bodies about an improved alignment of the domestic and international calendars and the broad issue of fixture congestion.
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“Howden’s Sport and Entertainment team is focused on leveraging the power of insurance to help clubs and their players mitigate the increasing frequency and cost of injuries, using data and analytics to provide risk management advice and innovative solutions.”
The Premier League’s overall injury tally of 946 for the 2022/23 was second only to the Bundesliga which went up from 1,206 to 1,226 which also shows Germany’s winter break provided no respite. La Liga had 583 injuries, Ligue 1 had 593 and Serie A 655 in the survey which is the third time it has been carried out by the global insurance brand.
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