The Case for Reducing Fixture Congestion in English Football
It is a debate that seems to have been raging ever since the inception of the English Premier League, but there still appears to be no way to deal with the fixture congestion that exists in English football.
This has led to only the richest teams in the land being able to compete on three or four fronts at a time, using squads that have been put together with billions of pounds.
When the issue of fixture congestion and player fatigue arises, it is usually framed around the idea that less fixtures would mean England’s top teams would have more chance of dominating in Europe, as well as the national team benefitting from fresher players.
However, there are many other sound reasons for English football to undertake a Marie Condo-style clear-out, and below we try to set out exactly what those wide-ranging benefits could be.
Footballers already suffer from having short careers and a reduced fixture list could help many athletes prolong their stints in the pro ranks
Footballers Are Humans Too and Perform Better When 100% Fit
English football fans have an insatiable thirst for football, but there are genuine worries that while fixture congestion is good at planning peoples’ weeknights and weekends for them, the games they do get to watch are dropping in quality.
This is largely down to the fact that players will not perform to their best if they are constantly carrying knocks and injuries. The effects of fixture congestion on performance have even been the subject of studies, which have shown conclusively that the Premier League and cup competitions are in many ways diluting their own brands, enforcing near-impossible schedules on players whose bodies just cannot keep up.
Be it the culling of a cup, or a winter break, it is clear that trimming the fixture list is key, especially as in its current form it may deter top level players from signing for English teams, knowing that their careers could be cut short by a brutal workload.
Put the Onus on Playing Rather Than Watching
Another seldom considered negative of a packed fixture list is that fans are so encouraged to spectate games that they forget to partake in the sport themselves.
This is one of the many reasons why grass roots 11-a-aside leagues and teams continue to dwindle in number around the UK, something which will be damaging to the beautiful game in the long term.
Such is the packed nature of fixture lists in English football that even teams like Liverpool come close to walking alone when they play in competitions like the League Cup
Level the Playing Field by Culling Mammoth Squad Sizes
Top managers in England are constantly moaning about their teams’ relentless schedules and yet it is often those same top teams who benefit the most from packed fixture lists, as their squad depth allows savvy managers to rotate players.
This leaves poorer teams at a huge disadvantage, unable to go on spending sprees to back up their first 11 with a bench chock full of internationals.
By reducing the fixture list, it would enable those teams lower down the footballing food chain to close the gap to those above them, thus making the league more exciting to watch.
Give Other Sports a Chance
There seems to be a rabid obsession with bombarding footy fans with games no matter what time of year it is.
This often leaves no time for people to enjoy other sports. With so many other great sporting events and leagues out there to enjoy, it seems counter productive for football to take the lead of the NBA, who are busy trying to flood sports schedules during the off season with things like their NBA Summer League.
After all, the Premier League does not want its fans to suffer from burnout alongside the players.
Do People Really Like Football at Christmas?
Festive football has always been a staple of Christmas season in the UK, but if people are really honest with themselves, do they actually enjoy it?
Christmas is already an expensive time of the year, without having to shell out for overpriced match day tickets or special TV viewing packages, and perhaps a proper break could provide for a more exciting leadup to a season relaunch in January. It is just a thought.
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