Denmark football stars to boycott Nations League opener over commercial dispute

Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen

Denmark is forced to select mainly a second-string lineup against Wales in a UEFA Nations League's match on Sunday after negotiations with national team's aces over contracts broke down.

The makeshift squad, which will be coached by former Denmark midfielder John Jensen, is the result of a standoff between the Danish football association, DBU, and the country's players union over a new collective agreement regarding commercial rights.

The 24-man squad for the friendly with Slovakia on Wednesday in Trnava contained players mostly from Denmark's third tier.

There is a fear that UEFA could hit Denmark with a huge fine and ban if they do not play their opening Nations League match.

If the DBU fails to recruit players for the games, Denmark, who are ninth in the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings and reached the last 16 at this year's World Cup, could face expulsion from the 2020 European Championship.

"We are here because we love to play for Denmark - and proud of the many millions we play for children and the breadth of Danish football, and the work we do for the whole of Danish football". The players' travelling conditions are also an issue. Age Hareide, the Denmark manager, also won't be involved in the games and has been told to stay at home.

As such, according to Danish paper Ekstra Bladet, the squad includes relatively unknown lower league players and even members of the national futsal team.

She could not say if the association had been successful in attracting lower-tier players to play in the team's matches this month.

"It is crucial for the future of Danish football".

"We need to solve this conflict now", Eriksen said, "not just dig the trenches deeper".

"It is crucial for the future of Danish football that we can play the two internationals this week, and therefore we are pleased that these 24 players have been willing to come through for Denmark", Hallberg said.

A contract dispute with the Danish national women's team led to the boycotting of a World Cup qualifier against Sweden a year ago, leaving the DBU with a US$23,100 fine and a final warning from Uefa over the cancellation of matches - forcing the association's hand.

Danish national soccer team caretaker manager John Jensen listens to a question during a press conference at the Rivar Park hotel in Bratislava, Slovakia Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. The DBU was fined and warned Denmark could be excluded from any UEFA tournament if another match was cancelled in the next four years.

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