It is of no subtlety that fans of football, and in particular, teams in higher tier leagues, dislike International breaks, and can’t wait for the domestic season to resume.
For these fans, these two weeks feel like much longer, with little football of any interest on, and even less that matters in the grand scheme of things. And recently, UEFA (the leading European football governing body) have tried to shake things up, by creating the ‘UEFA Nations League’ – a much more league-based competition with the familiar promotion and relegation formats, and potential routes to the European Championships in 2020. However, despite these efforts, I believe this won’t re-invigorate our love of international football (excluding World Cups and European Championships) as is intended.
They abolished Capital Punishment why can’t they abolish International breaks??
— Rob-Arsenal F.C.+Raiders (@bergkamp_henry) September 7, 2018
And it’s not because this competition isn’t better than the old format – where teams would have played meaningless friendlies in front of half empty stadiums. Don’t get me wrong, it is definitely an improvement. It’s because of International Football as a whole.
As a supporter of one of the Premier League’s top teams, I’m not really interested in watching a makeshift team attempt to play football at the same level as a top European club, and inevitably fall short of these standards. I don’t care enough about seeing Jesse Lingard partnering Raheem Sterling up top. On a day to day basis, I don’t rate these players, and yet, every few weeks, domestic football stops in order to see just how poor these players can play together, instead of for their clubs, under a manager who knows these players better than International managers. Now I’m not saying that these players are no one’s cup of tea – but for football to completely stop for a fortnight, just to see these players struggle to play together, can be excruciating.
So for UEFA to have made a new competition, might be great for the European powerhouses in France, Spain and the like, and their fans, but for a country like England, where performances and atmosphere are almost entirely lacking, the introduction of a new competition isn’t going to make the slightest difference of our hatred of International breaks. At the end of the day, no matter who we play, or in what ‘League’, England (with the exception of the most recent World Cup), will always fall short of our love for our own clubs.