Messi Paraguay

World Cup qualifiers: 251 players face long trips during pandemic

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Messi Paraguay
As many as 251 professional footballers may face long-distance travel to play in this month’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers in South America, according to research by FIFPRO in coordination with KPMG Football Benchmark.

The international window is from October 5th to October 12th and national federations in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela have named preliminary squads.

Many players will be travelling in and out of countries with some of the highest incidence of covid-19 pandemic, with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, the KPMG research shows, citing World Health Organization data.

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FIFPRO commissioned the research to help football stakeholders understand how the evolving situation of the pandemic applies to the week-long window, when each national team is scheduled to play twice. The research data was compiled through September 24.

In Argentina, 30 of the 35 members of the preliminary squad which was announced last week are based outside the country including Lionel Messi (Spain) and Paulo Dybala (Italy).

For Colombia, 33 of 34 the players that were called up in an initial list play abroad including James Rodriguez (England) and Radamel Falcao (Turkey).

Every member of both Paraguay and Uruguay’s squads is based abroad, including Dario Lezcano (Mexico) and Luis Suarez (Spain), according to preliminary squad data

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“More than half of the 251 players are based in Spain, Italy, United States, U.K. and Mexico”

The European club set to release most players is Atletico Madrid, with five called up. In central and north America, FC Juarez, Club Leon and Portland Timbers are each set to release four players.

Bolivia is the only country where most squad members are employed by clubs at home. Only three of 34 play abroad.

Each national team is scheduled to play one match at home and one match away during the window, thus requiring additional travel within South America.

Travel Conmebol 0001 BOLIVIA
Travel Conmebol 0002 BRAZIL
Travel Conmebol 0003 CHILE
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Travel Conmebol 0007 PERU
Travel Conmebol 0008 VENZUELA