Meaningless internationals can cost clubs plenty

Chelsea’s home game against Manchester United originally set down for December 18 last year was snowed off. It was then rescheduled for March 1 BUT that may need to be postponed again until May depending on results in the FA Cup. That’s five full months after its original date, five months in which a suitable date could not be found. Yet Wednesday February 9 would have been perfectly acceptable for all concerned EXCEPT that England was set down to play a game in Denmark which is nothing more than a friendly, exhibition, training match, call it what you will, but certainly a totally meaningless one. WHY?

Chelsea’s home game against Manchester United originally set down for December 18 last year was snowed off. It was then rescheduled for March 1 BUT that may need to be postponed again until May depending on results in the FA Cup. That’s five full months after its original date, five months in which a suitable date could not be found. Yet Wednesday February 9 would have been perfectly acceptable for all concerned EXCEPT that England was set down to play a game in Denmark which is nothing more than a friendly, exhibition, training match, call it what you will, but certainly a totally meaningless one (and looking at the latest online betting odds, they’re favourites to win). WHY?

Unlike so many other FIFA and UEFA decisions in the past, a perfectly sensible one was recently made which sees qualifying matches during international weekends being played on Friday and Tuesday nights. It’s an innovation which is welcomed by everyone yet meaningless games are still being insanely scheduled for Wednesday nights. It has a huge impact on the flexibility of rearranging unexpected, postponed matches – and for that matter Cup replays, like the one involving United and Chelsea.

How sensible would it have been for Denmark v England to be played on Tuesday evening, that’s if it was even needed to be played at all, leaving Wednesday night to be available for rearranged fixtures. International players involved in their club matches should then be allowed to withdraw from those  official training sessions .

Does all that sound feasible? Don’t ask me, I’m only an amateur observer but at least see what the professional international and club managers think. Clubs, after all, do fork out huge salaries to their top players and must surely deserve to have a significant input on decisions that can make or break them in the final wash up.

Championship titles, money spinning European qualification, managers losing their jobs and relegation into the abyss can all play a huge part at the end of season equation. One point, one lousy single point, won or lost during these meaningless, international training games can literally change the course of a clubs proud history – and the solution can be so, so simple!

POSTSCRIPT – Just a thought straight out of left field which may be worth considering. As the Premier International World Sporting Event, the FIFA World Cup should remain exactly as it is but changes could be worth looking at for all other tournaments. Why not make Euro, South American, African, Asian Cups etc, only eligible for players who are nationals but  play for clubs in their own countries?

Examples will be the likes of Carlo Tevez and Lionel Messi being unable to represent Argentina in the Copa America, Australia’s Tim Cahill and Korea’s Jung Si Park in the Asian Cup while Didier Drogba will not be able to play in the African Cup unless he returns to a club in the Ivory Coast. It will help develop players remaining at home – as well as the game itself, while still giving an opportunity for those plying their trade overseas to represent their country in the biggest tournament of all. Too far fetched? I wonder!

Should players only have to be released for Euro and World Cup qualifiers?

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