Brazilian footballers threaten strike

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 25 (IANS) Brazilian footballers have threatened to go on strike if their governing body does not agree to change the 2014 calendar.

The Fenapaf players' union Tuesday said it would ask its members to boycott the final two rounds of the season to protest against the crowded draw, reports Xinhua.

"I am preparing and will later forward the proposal to all of the players. They have to have consciousness and courage. If not, nothing will change. We can't allow this to continue," Fenapaf president Alfredo Sampaio said.

Brazil's fixturing has long been criticised by players, coaches and media for both its duration and quantity of matches. The season lasts for more than 10 months a year to accommodate state championships, national league, Brazil Cup and continental tournaments. In contrast, most European seasons last nine months.

Next year's fixture list is even more crammed to accommodate the World Cup which will halt all local competitions from early June to mid July.

"If the calendar is already a joke, 2014 is absurd and everyone knows it," Sampaio said.

The Brazilian Football Confederation declined to comment.

Local media reported that at least 70 players including former Arsenal captain Gilberto Silva, ex-AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato and former Real Madrid forward Julio Baptista had signed a petition demanding change. Critics have also called for the season to replicate the European calendar, providing a break in the Brazilian winter months of June and July, instead of summer.