Breaking before the start: Timing of international friendlies

Today’s chunk of the football fixtures are in the form of international friendlies, just 3 days before the English Premier League gets underway. Many managers, and fans alike, understandably voice their concerns about the risk of injuries and limitation of match preparation just before the season starts. However, it could be argued that this is an ignorant stance. Football is played all over the world, with countries such as Brazil, Norway, Sweden and USA midway through their football schedule. Some of the major leagues, though, such as the Premier League and La Liga are yet to begin.

Every club manager, from Barcelona’s to Fluminense’s will be worried about injuries and limited match preparation regardless of how far into the season they are. International friendlies are sometimes viewed as pointless by club managers, but international managers will argue that they are essential. They are needed in order to prepare for major tournaments; players want and need to prove themselves, and gain vital experience, whilst managers get to test and fine-tune their systems. England are consistent at under-performing in major tournaments, which fans complain about. The fans also complain when their club’s key player is injured in a ‘pointless’ international friendly. How can any fan expect England, or any other national team for that matter, to perform well in major tournaments without preparation? It is similar to domestic clubs’ preparation; pre-season occurs to settle in new signings, gain match fitness and prepare for the upcoming season.

It is just unfortunate that FIFA’s set date for international friendlies falls three days prior to the start of the arguable most entertaining league in the world. If it is such a problem, why not start the season before the international friendlies take place, like in Germany and France? Some of the international teams’ contingent comes from lower leagues, too. Why not start the season as one? The Football League in England have already played 2 rounds of fixtures.

Football, futbol, soccer is played everywhere, not just England.


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