The Death of International Football

Has the Champions League made international football pointless? Is the Week of Football a terrible idea? Let’s have a look at the bleak future of the European Championships.

  • Falling crowds and retiring players don’t paint a positive picture
  • International football no longer the pinnacle of the game
  • “Week of Football” scheme criticised
  • 24 teams to qualify for Euro 2016, standards to fall?

ronaldinho-celebratingThe international break is pretty dire isn’t it? I already watched all the La Liga Years during the last one, just after the end of the transfer window a month agot. Ronaldinho, eh? What a phenomenon.I digress. Life is just less fun when there’s no club football on. You’ve got nothing to talk to your mates about.

The transfer window has already robbed us of the joy of a sporadic left-field signing at a random point of the season, and with no league games on, a void appears in a man’s life that is very hard to fill.

You end up having to watch a poor England team struggle to penetrate a team made up of accountants, factory workers and “Olive oil company” with your missus – who is actually having an alright time spending time with her man, she knows at least a few of the players and England get a conclusive victory. Was this worth sitting through the Bakeoff final for? I think not.

Surely there’s got to be something that Platini and UEFA can do? The recently announced “Week of Football” is an acknowledgement by the European ruling body that something has to give, but there have be reservations about the answers that UEFA have come up with. Would the proposed changes in format help to pique a bit more interest into a form of the game that is already losing the interest of many, or has international football, losing players to retirement earlier and earlier these days, finally been relegated to the ancillary form of the game in the way that Test cricket has been pushed out by Twenty20?

What’s new?

Previous format here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2012

Top two in each group will qualify along with hosts France. The best third-placed team will also qualify, with the eight other third-placed sides playing off for the remaining four spots.

euro-2016-draw

Expanding the finals from 16 to 24 teams won’t devaluate the competition, says UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino. He defended his viewpoint responding to many who have criticised the format by adding: “Of the top 32 teams in the world, 20 are European. We can move from 16 to 24 because the quality is there in Europe.”

How will the changes affect the England team?

Roy Hodgson believes the new format will reduce his time with the team. He especially fears Thursday games, which will only give the players one day of training: “If the Super Sunday has four of our best teams taking part, taking as many as seven or eight of our first XI players.”

“Monday is a write-off, Tuesday for some of the older players will be a write-off because they need a two-day recovery and that means we only have one day to prepare, the day before the game.”

It all makes sense, but we must remember it’s all intended to boost interest. Infantino said this gives fans a better chance of following not just their own team but others on TV as well, increasing revenue for television coverage.

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