There are a lot of Tottenham Hotspur players who are set to depart for their national teams this week as they get ready to play international friendlies and the first of the new Nations Cup qualifiers. However, two players will get a much deserved rest: Christian Eriksen and Hugo Lloris will both stay in north London and will not play with Denmark or France, respectively. And at least for Eriksen, the reason is kind of weird.
Let’s start with Hugo, as it’s the most straight forward. Lloris will miss national team action with France for the same reason that he missed Sunday’s loss against Watford: he’s injured. Tottenham today confirmed that Hugo will remain in London to continue his rehabilitation from a thigh injury that he (apparently) picked up in training.
Hugo Lloris has been withdrawn from France's squad for their upcoming games against Germany and the Netherlands due to a thigh injury. https://t.co/Fwk9fRCalw— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 3, 2018
Eriksen’s situation is weirder, and completely out of his control. According to ESPN, the entire 23-man Denmark first team squad has been told to stay home after the players have reached a stand-off with the Danish football federation (DBU) thanks to a dispute over players’ commercial rights.
To simplify a complicated story, the Danish federation wants to prohibit Denmark players from having product sponsors and endorsements that are in direct competition with the DBU’s own sponsors. Naturally, the players don’t like that idea, and negotiations between the DBU and the Danish Players Association have ground to a standstill this week.
With the players association having rejected a deal and missing a deadline, the DBU has basically told the players to go home and now are faced with the prospects of finding an entirely new 23-man squad of Danish footballers in the next few days or they risk forfeiting their two matches. That could put Denmark afoul of UEFA regulations and could mean they could be banned from qualifying from Euro 2020.
UEFA warned the DBU of the potential sanction last year after Denmark’s women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier during a dispute over employment conditions.
Players from the Danish Superliga and lower domestic leagues could be called up to fill the Denmark squad, but complicating matters for the DBU is the fact that many are also members of the players’ union and therefore may be unwilling to break ranks by accepting the invitation.
So for now, Eriksen, along with his fellow Danish internationals Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester) and Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) are still with their club teams. In the short term that’s good for Eriksen as it sure seems like he could use a rest already, but long term it’s a bad thing, especially if the dispute can’t be resolved quickly and Denmark loses its Euro 2020 status two years before the tournament even kicks off.