top of page

Has the modern fixture list become too congested?

The festive period is a magnificent spectacle through a consumer's lens, off from work, sitting at home, watching games nearly every day whilst polishing off the Christmas leftovers.



But from a professional's standpoint, and those involved with teams, as well as the media, is it a torrid few weeks of travelling and limited time spent with loved ones at home. Boxing Day and New Years Day football has become a staple of the footballing calendar, but is the congested schedule placing too much stress on players.



This is a problem that filters throughout the English football pyramid, not just the Premier League. Most teams in the EFL were forced to play three games in the space of 7 days in between Boxing Day and New Years Day. It is a physical requirement that demands peak fitness and dedication. Some teams train on Christmas Day and footballers have had to come to terms with this, which is tough on players who have young families. But it is part of the job that they signed up for.



Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has typically been a serial complainer when it comes to excuses, and he has continuously voiced his disregard to the busy schedule this time of year.

But nowadays, the congestion is not consigned just to the Christmas period, but all year round. Players rarely get a rest. In 2019, Klopp said that the schedule "has to change in the long term for the sake of the players." But not much has changed since then, if anything, it has got worse. There does not seem to be a way around it, but clubs with more depth in their squad hold an advantage.


Injuries have also been ripe this season and have torn through many teams up and down the country. Newcastle have been notably hit with an injury crisis and it has seemingly had a detrimental impact on their form. They have dropped to ninth with four losses in their last five. Eddie Howe has come under scrutiny with some calling for him to be sacked but his lack off choices is important to note.



With the Euros this summer, those on international duty will only receive a short break after the regular league season concludes.

The unfortunate reality of it all is that there is not really a way around the congested fixture list. The amount of teams in each league cannot be reduced, every team has to play each other twice, European competitions are expanding, so it appears as if it is only going to get worse. More games equates to more money, for the teams involved and the big broadcasters, btu is it really worth it?



Starting from next August, the Champions League will have 36 teams, and one big league table instead of groups of four teams. Teams will now play more European clashes midweek, up against domestic cup competitions and the league. This is why squad rotation is necessary, but without investment into transfers alongside the upturn in injuries, it is a struggle for trams to field their strongest side for every game. The January transfer window will provide an opportunity for additions to be made, but the congested fixture list has no viable fix, and it is only going to get harsher on professional footballers in the future.



43 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page