Are We Reaching Football Fatigue
With the global football calendar being pulled in so many different directions, there is a sense that the current schedule is at bursting point and when you consider the hard border the European Championships provides next summer, there is no wiggle room in terms of further reschudling.
Due to such a lack of wiggle room, the rumblings of discontent regarding player welfare are starting to get louder and with the action coming thick and fast, those players who are set to appear in in the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, run a genuine risk of being exhausted by the time they get there.
While although the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are bemoaning the inability to name five matchday substitutes, one wonders if their argument is nullified by the fact that they reguarly fail to use three and although the prospect of player fatigue is a genuine one, do supporters need to be mindful of the same pertinent issue.
Because with so much football on the television – due to the obvious consequence of locked stadia, have we already got to the point where too much of a good thing soon becomes a bad thing.
Lets take this analogy:
Say you loved “Football Crazy” cake
from the supermarket (you know the one) and instead of having a slice a week, you are instead having four slices on Saturday, four on Sunday and two on Monday…. Every week. A serving suggestion that can only be considered gluttonous and no matter how much you loved the sweet treat, you would tire of it in the end.
Transfer that analogy to the Premier League and with scheduling as it currently is, again because of COVID-19 restrictions, it does seem as if we are starting to or have already reached a form of televisual saturation.
Of course, nobody is saying that you have to watch all 10 matches in any given weekend. However, with not a lot else to do in the “current climate”, options for entertainment elsewhere are limited and therefore a weekend’s Premier League action is the de facto stance.
Then again, its not just the preserve of domestic matters which adds to the figurative calorie count. With the Champions League and Europa League group stages being played on a near weekly basis, breaking only for more UEFA governed action in the guise of the Nations League or European Championship play-offs, the constant stream of the beautiful game is never ending.
While it’s not just the volume of the football that is the issue, its the taste of it. Once again, if we use another cake based analogy (this one provided by my good friend Chris) – he states:
“It’s not the volume of cake that bothers me, but it’s more the recipe. It’s used to be really good and enjoyable, now it’s a sterile over produced version of its former self”
While it does not need a scholar to decipher what Chris is implying here and if you cannot crack the code, it is a reference to the baffling offside law and VAR interpretations (or lack thereof) that we are seeing season.
A litany of video nasties that are too long to list and to be honest, I’m bored of trying to dissect this topic instead of moments on the pitch and when you combine such imperfections with the sheer scale of football that is currently on the box, you do wonder if we are all collectively stuffed.
In terms of scheduling, this is a one-off in a sense and things should eventually recalibrate to a sense of the previous equlibrium that we are all used to. Then again, it is a balance that hangs by a thread when you consider what is on the horizon.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be a jostling and condensing of dates on either side of the tournament, while a probable extension of the Champions League in 2024, will mean something will have to give elsewhere (likely the scrapping of the EFL Cup or minimilised representation from the “Big Six”)
Which means, although we are already undoing the belt buckle to make room for this current serving, we may all need to buy some even bigger trousers over the next couple of years.