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FIFPro calls for an investigation into the decision not to reschedule or abandon Saturday's FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final match between Cruz Azul and Western Sydney Wanderers, which was plagued by serious weather conditions.

FIFPro  – the world players union shares the concerns voiced by players after the game that the continuation of the match posed a serious threat to the health and safety of all players on the pitch.

The players' health and safety – a right enshrined in law – must at all times be protected and must take priority over commercial or organizational interests. FIFA – being the organiser of the Club World Cup – has the responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of the players participating in this event is guaranteed.

On Saturday, CONCACAF champions Cruz Azul (Mexico) beat Asian champions Western Sydney  Wanderers (Australia) 3-1 after extra time on a pitch that was waterlogged after heavy rainfalls. On the field at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium, the ball hardly rolled or bounced, while the slippery surface posed a serious threat to players.

"The FIFA Club World Cup is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the game, as the winning team deserves the title the best club team in the world", says FIFPro Head of Player Services, Tijs Tummers.

"Such a competition deserves the highest quality playing conditions, more so, the players as workers have a right to a safe work environment. Neither was the case, last Saturday. The players were involved in a match that did no justice to their qualities and aspirations. The conditions were simply dangerous. We are lucky that none of the  players suffered a serious injury."

"Therefore, FIFPro calls on FIFA to clarify why the decision was made to continue this match in these conditions and to ensure that effective rules are in place to prevent a repetition of similar events."

One day after the match, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) decided to move the semifinal between Cruz Azul and Real Madrid to a different venue, due to the "difficult pitch conditions" at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium.

Photos and a video of the match between Cruz Azul and Western Sydney Wanderers

 

Reactions players and coach

After the match, players and coaches of both clubs expressed their concerns about the poor quality of the pitch and the difficult weather conditions.

Sydney Wanderers' Mark Bridge: "When we came out it was like a swimming pool. It was like playing in quicksand, you were sinking with every step."

Cruz Azul coach, Luis Fernando Tena: "We wanted to showcase our technical ability but that wasn't possible due to the weather conditions. We did our best to adapt to the circumstances."

Sydney Wanderers' Shannon Cole: "There was no football. To be fair, both teams were quite respectful of each other in respect of challenges. In such conditions you often see bad injuries. Who knows if they would have played this game if it was a regular league game."

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