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There have been fresh calls for a reduction in the size of the leading European leagues following the findings of FIFA medical officials at the World Cup.

Jiri Dovrak, FIFA’s chief medical officer at the World Cup announced today that there had been a marked increase in the number of non-contact injuries during the tournament, which indicates that players are exhausted from long domestic seasons.

“Some players are playing between 80-90 games a season and that is too many” said Dvorak.

Although numbers of injuries per game are similar to previous tournaments, FIFA’s figures for this World Cup show a dramatic increase in non-contact injuries, such as muscle strains.

Non contact injuries comprised roughly 14% of all injuries in previous tournaments, but now this figure has increased to 26%.

Sven Goran Eriksson said that his England players were tired after their World Cup games and said that the Premier League should reduce the number of teams for next season or consider a winter break – a view echoed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Franz Beckenbauer said that the early elimination of big teams such as France, Argentina and Portugal was partly due to long European seasons.

“All the best players play in Europe and they are forced to play too many matches. FIFA have to do something” he said.

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