It’s that time of year again and in couple of weeks teams across the continent will be enjoying a winter break. However in England, sides face a gruelling Christmas Period of fixtures with many teams facing multiple games in a just a few days.
Many have tried to get fixtures moved such as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, who have tried to get their 2nd of January trip to the Stadium of Light moved after their fixture against Manchester City was moved to teatime on New Years Eve to allow it to appear on BT Sport.
This appeal was rejected by the FA making the Reds have to play two games in less than 48 hours which could damage their title credentials due to the rotation in which Klopp will have to make.
Furthermore, when with West Ham, Sam Allardyce complained claiming that we are putting players health at risk by playing so many games in such a short time period.
On the other hand, fans in England are dead against the idea of a break with the argument of the amount of money which Premier League footballers are paid should allow them to be available to play at any time. Furthermore, there is a 25 man squad in which all Premier League teams must select from therefore meaning that they have many options seeing that they only need to pick 11 players.
Also, the Christmas period and football are so entwined together that it would simply be strange not having games over the period and would essentially just create the same boring atmosphere in which pre-season has.
Yet an argument could be made that times have changed and professional footballers are more like athletes these days unlike past players of 30 years ago, who would regularly finish a game with a trip to the pub.
Football has changed and is it time that we as a country should embrace this and give footballers the same respect we would athletes and give players time to recuperate.
Despite this there isn’t much evidence to say that the Christmas period brings about more injuries. However, many have suggested that players suffer far more injuries in the second half of the season than they do in the first half. Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller believes that the lack of a winter break is behind England’s poor showings in various major tournaments and that people must also look at it from the mental side as well as the physical side.
In conclusion, a winter break could be useful in England if it would improve the nation’s performances in major tournaments. However, due to the size of the squads, clubs should be able to negotiate the Christmas period relatively easily.
Furthermore, clubs across Europe often play matches in this period which are friendlies as well as training camps meaning that players don’t really get that much of a break. But, the debate will go on for a long time to come especially with the Premier League boss, Richard Scudamore discussing plans for the introduction of a winter break in the Premier League.
This could see an end to the exciting Christmas period of football which would be a real shame seeing such traditions as the Boxing Day fixture being thrown out which would upset many fans.