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Women’s football McCabe urges governing bodies to solve calendar congestion in women’s game

ARSENAL winger Katie McCabe hopes football’s governing bodies will heed calls to solve a calendar congestion issue she sees as potentially detrimental to players and fans.

The Gunners have already sold more than 58,000 tickets for Sunday’s north London derby, two weeks after selling 60,160 for a first-time Women’s Super League sell-out at Ashburton Grove before the international break.

But in order for teams to deliver an on-pitch product worthy of those legions, stressed the Republic of Ireland captain, players need adequate time to allow their bodies to recover from the increasingly demanding nature of the elite women’s game.

She told the PA news agency: “I think for us to be playing at our best and to be giving those record crowds good games to watch we need to be fresh.

“With the Fifa window, and obviously the Euro qualifiers window, it’s incredible how they’ve moved an international camp in the middle of summer and thinking that was a good idea.

“It’s difficult. Obviously we are footballers, we want to be able to play the games, but we also want to feel that freshness going into it as well. It’s really difficult for us, but we obviously need to keep going.

“Unfortunately it’s not in our power as players, we want the governing bodies to listen to us and to make sure there’s change with that as well, because it’s not going to be solved in the way it’s being solved right now.”

McCabe’s sentiments echo those of Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango, who at a summit earlier this week pointed to what he felt was a depleted Manchester City side for last season’s men’s Champions League final, saying: “For us, we’ve reached a stage where it is not just about the health of the player, it is [also] about us killing the product.”

The growing women’s game faces similar scheduling challenges and player welfare concerns, particularly for athletes representing national teams alongside top sides like Arsenal, who currently sit third in the WSL and three points behind both Chelsea and Manchester City.

McCabe, like so many in her squad, has just returned from international duty to an injury-depleted Gunners side not just competing for the title but still alive in the League Cup, which will crown a winner at the end of this month.

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