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PL Fixture congestion- is change needed?

Written by Sport, Sport Features

For an extension – Andrew White

The argument of whether there is too much fixture congestion in the Premier League during the holiday season is a debate that stems every year.

This has led to the introduction of the ‘Mid-Season player break’, from this season until at least 2022, but this has not solved the crisis of fixture congestion. More needs to be done during the winter period.

The issue was highlighted most recently by Jurgen Klopp, stating “we cannot go on like this”.

The Situation is clear, the solutions are possible, the leagues have to sit at a table and discuss it and think about the players rather than their wallet”.

Jurgen Klopp on fixture congestion in England.

This came after Liverpool were drawn to play Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on December 16, when the team will be in Qatar for the Club World Cup.

Klopp has threatened to forfeit the tie if the fixture is not moved, but the EFL have made it clear that the fixture will remain.

As a football fan, I love the winter football schedule as much as anyone; your team playing every three or four days, the excitement of all the top matches…

However, players and managers constantly complain of their being too much fixture congestion in December in England. They’re burnt out, overworked and away from their families over the festive period

The Liverpool case study just highlights the need for the Premier League to introduce an extended winter break, like every other top league in Europe.

Against an extension – Jamie Armstrong

Football is unrecognisable from the escapist treat it once was, squabbling over VAR, transfers etc. entrenching the game in cumbersome minutiae.

A recent and festive complaint from Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola is fixture congestion, Klopp stating “we cannot go on like this”.

Well Jürgen, you can. Fixture congestion, like VAR, is a bugbear for those who believe that football requires robotic levels of fairness. Football, much as life, has its ups and its downs.

Klopp’s complaint that Liverpool face 12 games in 37 days overlooks his expensively assembled squad, featuring 25 top-level talents constructed for such eventualities. Guardiola can almost field two top-level sides, not to mention the availability of world-leading academies. With better squad-planning, rotation and faith in youth, these fixtures would be no issue, both manager’s scheduling complaints, bi-products of unparalleled success.

Festive fixture congestion might seem physically and mentally demanding- perhaps because it is. It earmarks the Premier League as a world-renowned competition, whilst complaints that European clubs have superior resting periods neglect the Premier League’s introduction of a February mid-season break.

Christmas periods are testing, but are also traditional. Supporters love festive football, the sheer volume of games meaning that come January the league table could have dramatically transformed.

So, as VAR and broadcasters surgically remove the game’s soul, football must keep some continuity. The challenge and tradition of Christmas football is treasured by supporters. Klopp’s remonstrations forget that football shouldn’t revolve around the elite. Bah Humbug Jürgen!

Last modified: 22nd January 2020

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