Let me preface this by stating the obvious: International fixtures have always been a part of the footballing calendar.
That’s not in dispute here. However, FIFA and UEFA insistence on an overloaded schedule during arguably the most congested season for most clubs in years has damaging effects to not only clubs, but players.
Talk of stopping international breaks is dense. Qualifying matches have always been part of the schedule since time immemorial.— Rick Triplesieger Joshua (@fussballchef) March 30, 2021
However there was no practical need to cram in this last crazy week for Catarrh 2022. Fitting in the Euros in June was already pushing the boat out.
Three games in seven days is not an easy on anyone at this stage of the season.
Bayern Munich won the Champions League on August 23rd, 2020. The Bundesliga season started a few weeks after that in September 2020. The Bavarians did not have much of an actual break and when factoring in the restrictions throughout the world because of the global pandemic, it raises serious questions as to why this necessary.
Now, is this a knee-jerk reaction to Bayern losing arguably the best player in the world for an extended amount of time during a vastly critical time period for both their domestic and international competitions? Yes. But I’d like to think this is a valid critique of what is clearly a flawed system. And I’m not the first — nor will I be the last — to argue that international breaks are overly burdensome during the club season. Yet, looking at the future FIFA qualifier schedule, in September, international teams will once again go through three match days in approximately a week — and that is after the EURO 2020 tournament which is still expected to be played this summer.
Instead of adjusting the schedule to not overly burden players and clubs, FIFA and UEFA have stuck to their guns in the midst of the most compact season of memory — and appear to be content with their pure greed and gross negligence of player safety. All the while, teams and players are paying the price — with Bayern Munich simply being the latest example.
Now Bayern has to live with the fact that these unnecessarily scheduled games have cost them of the world’s best player. Hansi Flick now has to face PSG two times and RB Leipzig without the man that accounts for 45% of Bayern’s goal output. Lewandowski has to live with the fact his best chance to surpass Gerd Müller’s once untouchable record might very well have been ruined due to his obligation to represent his country. I don’t doubt they’re all angry about it. I know we are. This season has just gotten a whole lot harder because of matches that simply should have never occurred.