More than 80 per cent of professional players in the English Football League (EFL) believe not enough is being done to keep them safe on the pitch, according to a survey by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).
The survey was distributed to players from the three divisions below the Premier League.
The last two seasons have seen an increasing number of pitch invasions towards the end of campaigns with fans celebrating titles, promotion or survival.
“Over half of EFL players surveyed by the PFA said they had been part of a game where a pitch invasion had resulted in a player being attacked or harassed,” the PFA said on Wednesday.
“Less than 20 per cent felt enough was being done to identify those responsible for pitch invasions, harassment of players and discriminatory chanting.”
The survey also highlighted player concerns about the new stoppage-time rules English football has introduced this season.
Following FIFA’s approach at the men’s and women’s World Cups, England’s referees body said in July that officials would add on the exact time lost to goal celebrations, substitutions and injuries.
The aim is to increase the time the ball is in play, with games now routinely going beyond 100 minutes in total.
“Almost 60 per cent of EFL players surveyed by the PFA do not support the new rules relating to additional time at the end of each half,” the PFA said.
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“Nearly 60 per cent also said that they believed longer games, resulting from new additional time rules, were causing more players to get injured.”
Players also felt they “were not given a proper break between seasons”, and almost a third of the players surveyed said they did not support the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
“The intention of a project like this is to identify areas where we need to work collaboratively with those who run the game, and to ensure that the views of players are heard and acted on,” PFA chief Maheta Molango said.