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A problem that affects Soccer/Football at the International and Club level.

At the beginning of the last European Soccer/Football season, on the other side of the world, National teams played the first games to qualify for the next European Cup.

So, all the European Leagues stopped the season, just after the first game (!!!) to permit the National teams to play these international games during that pause.

And, during the most crowded calendar ever, Leagues and Champions League, the various Federations pushed in international friendly games !!!!!


Almost all the top teams, like Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, A.C. Milan and so on, that have their roster formed only by international players from their and foreign countries, got 1 or 2 players back........................ INJURED !!!!!

So, top Club teams that just came together after the last World Cup, with new rosters that had changed 30 or 40 %, with a few players already injured, had to invent a team with players that hardly know each other.

And this, after having invested a lot of money to engage these players and having built teams and strategies around the new arrivals. Just after 1 game, they have to renounce using these injured players for months !!!!

For example, but there are many, Fernando Torres took months to come back to an acceptable performance and, in the mean time, Liverpool navigated in the last positions of the standing, battling against relegation !!! When Torres finally came back, they quickly climbed the standing but sold Torres to Chelsea !!!

And, when finally Liverpool saw the light at the end of the tunnel, after the International friendly game England-France, their captain Steven Gerard, got injured and took more than a month to come back !!!!

Besides the economic damage, this fact will deeply affect the continuation of the seasons and the goals that were set at the beginning. Also, these stoppages just after one game, took away the fluidity that a regular season should have. And the fans, who bought a season ticket to enjoy new super star players, will not see them for months.

I know that this is a problem that doesn’t affect American soccer (yet !!!) but, maybe one day, when even this nation will evolve to the same level of the rest of the world with hundreds of professional Clubs divided into different Divisions with promotions and relegations, this could be a problem here too.

The problem underlined above, apparently, seems to have no solution.

Top players are playing on top Clubs and, because they are top players, they also play for their National Teams in International competitions.

Also, this fact creates a fracture between top and lower level teams. But in a negative way for the top teams. At the beginning of the season, lower level teams, not having players who play for the National teams, had their rosters completed and working for 1 month before the beginning of the season.

Top teams had their top players, in particular the new ones, back on the roster just a few days before the first game. And after the first game, when they could finally work with the others to find a minimum of chemistry, they flew away to their countries to play for the National teams !!!

This is simply........................ ABSURD !!!

How to solve the problem?

I’m taking the liberty of suggesting a solution, already knowing that it will be very improbable to be taken into consideration. But, as I’ve said many times, because I’m a dreamer, there’s still a chance that maybe someone in the right place will accept the suggestion and begin, at least, to talk about it.

So, the suggestion is:

Because the problem is the contemporaneity of Club and International activity, these 2 activities could and should be separated into different periods of the year.

In order to do this, one thing has to happen: Clubs should play less games.

I remember that a few decades ago, Top Divisions had less teams. They had 16 teams, that became 18 and now 20.

So, a season that originally had 16 teams, in which a team was playing 2 times against the other 15 for a total of 30 games, it has become a season with 38 games !!! 8 more games, playing 1 time a week, it means 2 more months!!!

If to this activity we add the Champions League, The European Cup, The National Cups and so on, the total of games that the top teams play is a monstrous number: 60 Games !!!

And this is simultaneous with European or World Cup qualifications !!! Basically............................... impossible to do it without getting injured even with a rotation among the players. The top ones play a lot anyway !!

Please consider the actual number of teams in the Top First Divisions in Europe:

20 teams.....





18 teams.....

Holland .....

Germany .....


16 Teams..........

Russia .......

Portugal ....



12 Teams.......


So, even if the best thing would be to go back to 16 teams per League, and gain 2 months, at least let’s go back to 18 teams, play 34 games, and gain 1 month !!!

Besides the usual pause between the end of a season and the beginning of the following, roughly 2 months, in this extra month the National Teams can prepare themselves and play in International competitions!!!

And this wouldn’t compromise the few weeks of vacation for the players and coaching staffs who have the right to stay a little with their families that they barely see during the regular season.

Considering that the World Cup and the European Cup (in America we have the American Cup, in Africa the African Cup and in Asia the Asian Cup) ) are alternated every 4 years, in the pauses of 3 months between seasons that precede these International competitions, the usual numbers of International games that are played during the League seasons, instead would be played all together in the form of a tournament as happens every 4 years for the final stage tournament of World and European Cup !!!

The only difference is that the National Teams will travel through countries instead of coming together in a specific country. But the mechanism of the tournament will stay!

I already know that many will say: “Yes, this could be a good idea but the clubs by playing 4 games less will lose money”.

My answer is: during that month of international performances the players should be paid by their National Federations !!! And considering that these players make between 100 to 200 thousand $$$$ a week (!!!!) you’ll see that having 5 to 10 international players in a club paid by their Federations when they play for them and, very important, paid by them when they get injured (!!!!), you’ll see that the money lost with 4 games less, will be very similar (if not more !!!) than the money saved in ‘pharaonic’ salaries !!!

The separation in time of International and Club competitions in 2 different moments of the year, seems to me very simple and logical, and once and for all, we’d solve the problem of the Clubs of getting back injured players after every International pause during the League time.

I said that it could be simple and logic so, to expect that who’s in charge of FIFA and UEFA, will come out with something that takes into consideration these two magic words is basically impossible but, you never know.

Maybe they can make an....................... exception?


p.s. because I already know what the question might be about how to reduce the numbers of teams, it could be done this way: Instead of relegating 3 teams and promoting 3, let’s relegate 3 teams and promote 2. In 2 years the number of teams in the top Leagues will be reduced to 18. (in second and third division, the number of teams can stay at 20 so, 2 promotions and 2 relegations).

After 2 years, when the top leagues will be down to 18 teams, the promotion and relegation from First League and down would go back to 3 teams.

Even this is simple and logical so, not too many chances to be accepted either!!
Posted on 15 Oct 2011 by coachgianni
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