By Craig Scott

13th Oct, 2021 | 4:40pm

Jamie Carragher blasts FIFA with Leeds United set to play Southampton without Raphinha

Jamie Carragher is furious with FIFA as Leeds United prepare to play Southampton on Saturday with major doubts surrounding Raphinha’s availability.

Brazil play Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier at 1:30am on Friday (UK time), meaning it’s almost impossible for Raphinha to travel, recover, rest and prepare to play Southampton at St Mary’s the next day.

Leeds are not the only team faced with this issue at the weekend with South America’s World Cup qualifiers causing havoc for Premier League clubs and players.

“The Premier League has a credibility issue on Saturday. For a long time I have considered international breaks an inconvenience. This weekend, it is an unacceptable intrusion,” Carragher wrote on the Telegraph website.

“Eight Brazil players and three from Argentina will be among the Premier League’s South American contingent representing their countries in the early hours of Friday morning.

“The following day, Liverpool are resigned to being without goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Fabinho at Watford. Manchester City are likely to face Burnley without Ederson and Gabriel Jesus. Chelsea are expected to miss Thiago Silva, Manchester United Fred, and Leeds Raphina.”

Carragher added: “Although all the title-contending clubs are affected to some extent, the integrity of the matchday has been undermined due to avoidable, external circumstances. It is inexcusable that Fifa has allowed World Cup qualifiers to be scheduled at such a time which means the clubs paying the players’ salaries – in some cases around £250,000 a week – cannot reasonably use them in an important domestic match.”

Ridiculous

It’s bizarre that Brazil are playing on Friday.

The last time the Selecao played was on Sunday while Uruguay played Argentina on Monday. It’s just ridiculous that their game against Uruguay wasn’t scheduled to take place on Wednesday or at the very worst, on Thursday.

Instead, Raphinha and his Brazilian teammates are expected to fly halfway around the world to return in time to play for their clubs the day after.

FIFA are showing very little care for players, who are continually being over-worked and being burnt out by those who organise schedules.

CONMEBOL, the South American equivalent of UEFA, need to be held to account for such an awful scheduling issue because, as Carragher says, clubs are the ones who pay the wages of these players.

While Raphinha will no doubt love playing for Brazil, we need him here at Leeds because this game against Southampton on Saturday is a massive one.

He’s more than likely going to miss out and that means Marcelo Bielsa will be without his player of the season at St Mary’s.

In other Leeds United news, this Elland Road ace is also in a race against time to play against Southampton.