By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has called for an overhaul in the rules that govern how injured players are treated during international breaks.

The Arsenal manager has a long record of losing players to injuries while they have been on duty for their countries but the recent round of international fixtures was especially harsh on the Frenchman.

Robin van Persie will be out for up to five months after suffering ankle ligament damage during Holland's friendly against Italy while Abou Diaby returned to England with a calf injury despite playing no part in France's World Cup play-off against the Republic of Ireland. The midfielder is still not back in full training.

Wenger acknowledges that injuries are part and parcel of international football but what bothers him is what happens directly after. At present national federations decide whether to keep an injured player with his national squad instead of sending him back to his club and their medical staff.

The Arsenal manager believes that rule has to change for the good of the players and the good of the clubs who pay them.

"We will [take further action], of course," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"We will not accept that situation to go on like that. Our players go away, they are injured, a player like Diaby goes away and is injured and you cannot even get him back because they decided to keep him. It is disrespectful to the clubs. The players come back, they are injured, they are not properly treated, it is not acceptable for the clubs.

"We pay the wages. The players are injured. For political reasons they keep the players in the squad and we have not a say, how can that work? And three days later you have to play a game and you have to win it. They don't care. And you pay the players. Something has to change in there.

"In every other sport it is the club who decides if the player stays in the national team when he is injured. Only in our sport it is the federation who decides to keep the player if they want to keep the player. Why? That means they decide they are in a better situation to treat the player than you.  Then they have to pay the player at the end of the month. Then they can decide, that would be logical."

Wenger would like to take action but he admits that there is little he can do while the rules remain as they are.
"You can do nothing because they have the rule in their favour," he said.

"The French Federation decided to keep Diaby for political reasons. They knew from the first day on that he would never play for them but they didn't want to call another player up. So they decided to keep him and make everybody think he would play. The result? He comes back; the next day he tries to have a little run and gets a setback and we have to deal with the consequences."

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1 Dec 2009