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Why are we having International Breaks at this Point?

International Break

So, part three, already. The league season in this pandemic-infused bio-secure 2020/21 campaign. The Premier League is eight games in (seven for some), Ligue 1 has had 10 match weeks, the Bundesiga, like Serie A, seven, two less than the Spanish top-flight. Yet, the international break is coming into its third part of the season already.

It’s that time of the year, when some groan at the absence of men’s club football. Players jet off from one country to another to represent their countries in internationals despite the pandemic. But why are players jetting off from one country to another to represent their national teams in international despite the pandemic?

This is a rather pressing question in football now. The issue as to why footballers are made to travel from one part of the world to the other, in the thick of an airborne virus. The questions came up in September, as it did in October, and now in November, many ask again.

The response to why the international break happens is the Football Associations of various countries and their need for revenue. A bit like club football – who needed to return last May without fans to keep the business going – the international break will help, and is helping, to keep FAs running the affairs at the international level.

The other point is that we have to have some sense of normalcy. Other things are getting back on their feet, in football as well. So, perhaps we need to act as normal as we can get in these turbulent times. It’s far from ideal, but the show must go on. So, we get Scotland triumphing over Serbia in Euro qualifying, and Hungary pulling off a comeback against Iceland in Budapest.

But we’re not in normal circumstances, are we? One of the points of recognising the severity of the pandemic, is recognising that we’re not in any sort of normalcy, and so concessions should be made. And if you can excuse the international break in terms of qualifying games and Nations League matches, there’s no defence for friendlies. There’s certainly no way to spin countries traveling around the world three times in a week, for games that are ultimately less significant, and one that is very trivial.

International Break
England and Ireland met at Wembley for a pointless friendly (Image: Eurosport)

Especially not when cases seem to be spiking up again. The UK has gone into a second lockdown. In Italy, local health officials have issued travel bans to players, meaning the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Aleksandar Kolarov can’t travel for internationals, while Lazio and Cagliari have most of their players under the ban. In Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn has talked about how they’ve maxed out testing due to increase in cases.

All of this, the increase in cases and shortage of resources, makes it galling. First, for clubs who use resources to test twice a week, not to mention for the international break. There’s a need to make concessions, but no one is doing so.

Even the English League Cup is going on, every game seems to be played, and the Champions League is still going on with its routine of six group games in three months. The international break doesn’t have plans to cede any room either, and for all the talk of how the pandemic and the previous football shutdown would have been ample time to sit down and rethink the state of football scheduling, little has changed. If one or all of these parties don’t meet halfway and lighten the workload on the boat, a collapse might be coming.

Kunle Ajao126 Posts

Kunle Ajao is a football writer and columnist for spotkick. Having made a toss of himself trying to actually play the game, he knew better and got a pen instead of boots. Spends a bit of his time with the game, and thinks he's a bit like Sid Lowe. He's not


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