Players and coaches are calling for a limit to the number of ‘back-to-back’ games to protect them from burnout.

Almost nine in 10 players who took part in a survey for global footballers’ union Fifpro believe that limit should be six matches or fewer.

Fifpro also says players should be limited to 55 matches over a season.

Fifpro says players and coaches are telling them that too many matches, across too many overlapping competitions, are pushing them to their physical limits.

Chief medical officer of Fifpro, Prof Vincent Gouttebarge said: “This kind of working environment is conducive to the development of mental health problems.”

And the body’s Americas representative, Inter Milan and Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal, said he fears the “accumulated exposure puts us at risk as players, it can reduce our performance and may also shorten many players’ careers”.

Fifpro carried out the survey on the back of its Player Workload Monitoring Platform, which it manages alongside data company Football Benchmark.

The tool, launched last year, is designed to track the workloads professional players are facing.