Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed international friendlies like England’s clash against Brazil in Doha next month as money-making exercises for Football Association bosses.
Ferguson is furious that the majority of his squad will jet off around the world for meaningless friendlies in November, with Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand among the Manchester United stars set to embark on a 6,500-mile round journey to Qatar for the November 14 meeting with Brazil.
That fixture falls between United’s trip to Chelsea six days before and the visit of Everton to Old Trafford a week later.
And, while Ferguson did not specifically mention the Qatar trip he is not happy about “the intrusion of a friendly game in some unknown country” in the midst of the club season.
“You want them (the players) to play in the important international games, it’s important to them and I want them to play,” Ferguson said. “It’s the friendly matches that are the problem.
“It’s a coach’s nightmare, especially if you are in the middle of a European campaign and going for cups and titles.
“You have all these fixtures and you have the intrusion of a friendly game in some unknown country, so that is a definite thorn in everyone’s flesh.”
Ferguson knows that preparation for next year’s World Cup is important but he believes a gruelling trip like England’s to Qatar is more about earning a financial boost and having a glamorous sunshine break than helping Fabio Capello’s squad get ready for South Africa.
“All international managers have their jobs to do and we support that, particularly when it comes to the issues of competitive games, ie the European Championships or the World Cup,” Ferguson added.
“It’s very important that these players play for their countries. But friendly games are a different matter.
“I don’t think that anyone agrees with them if you’re a football coach, a league coach, whereas international managers have a situation that they find themselves in.
“I think that some of them actually could do without the friendly games themselves, but the FAs from every country warn them that sometimes it’s a nice day for them, a nice trip for them, a sunny day, and in some cases it creates good revenue for them. So you can understand it.”
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