Soccer-England's Wiegman wants clubs to release players early for World Cup

  • Football
  • Thursday, 01 Jun 2023

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - England Women's Training - The Lensbury, London, Britain - April 10, 2023 England manager Sarina Wiegman during training Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

(Reuters) - England manager Sarina Wiegman said her plans to prepare the team for the Women's World Cup are being put in jeopardy with clubs reluctant to release players in time to begin a training camp on June 19.

The tournament in Australia and New Zealand kicks off on July 20 with England starting their group campaign two days later against Haiti.

FIFA's original deadline for clubs to release players was July 10, but that drew sharp criticism that it did not give national teams long enough to prepare.

The global governing body and European Club Association (ECA) then reached an agreement for players to be released from June 23-29 when their domestic seasons are completed.

Wiegman said that would still leave her less than three weeks with her squad, which she named on Wednesday, while she also wanted to have a warm-up game before they left for the World Cup.

"If we start on the 19th we have enough days to get ready for such a game. If we start later, then the players are even longer out from football and then you have too short a time to get ready for a fixture," Wiegman told reporters.

"That's frustrating because we have all our plans and we thought we were all set and then like a month ago, all of a sudden, things change ... We didn't expect that, it is so late. We have to collaborate and try to solve (the calendar).

"But now it's a short time ... That's frustrating and it's hard too, because this is not the time to do this. It's a time to do that later and solve it after this tournament."

Wiegman, who led the Netherlands to a runners-up finish at the 2019 World Cup and England to the Euros title last year, was also worried about the impact jet lag will have on the squad.

"It's two days for travelling - you can't start training straight away because you first have to do (recovery from) jet lag. So we really need that time to get prepared."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Peter Rutherford)

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