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Growing discontent over national team matches, says Inter CEO

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - SPAL v Inter Milan - Paolo Mazza Stadium - Ferrara, Italy - July 16, 2020 Inter Milan chief executive Giuseppe Marotta before the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan’s chief executive said on Saturday he had sensed growing discontent among clubs over having to release players for international matches during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Giuseppe Marotta added that players should exercise “great caution” when responding to a call-up for their national teams.

The next international break in November will see European teams playing three matches each, while there will be two rounds of games in the South American World Cup qualifying competition, with many players having to travel from Europe.

Inter’s squad includes regular internationals for Argentina, Chile, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia and Morocco.

“There is a general discontent that is spreading through all the club directors about players who have to respond to so many commitments,” Marotta told Sky Sport Italia before his team’s Serie A match at home to Parma. “We have to limit the situation at least with the national team matches.”

Marotta said he did not want to stir up controversy nor boycott international matches. However, he added that Inter should be “rigid” when dealing with international call-ups.

“It’s only right that national federations work with us to protect the players and we will be clear that they must think long and hard when calling up our players,” he said.

“For a player to accept a call-up, he has to be in the right mental and physical condition. If he is tired, or has muscular problems, he must stay at home. I ask for more respect for the clubs.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris