By Walter Broeckx
This has to stop. Somewhere, someone, anyone but this has to come to an end. What? Those stupid, meaningless, irrelevant, international fixtures in the middle of the money time of the regular football season.
What good is it that players now have to leave their natural environment and go to play far away from home some matches under managers who are only interested in themselves and who have no interest at all the wellbeing of any of the players they stole away from the clubs. Or the interest of these clubs.
Once again for the umpteenth time we face the probable loss of a few important players because they had to play for their national side. Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck are the ‘lucky ones’ this time.
I must say I feel angry, pissed off, could throw with all things that I can lay my hands on towards the head of those individuals who invented these silly internationals last weekend and this week.
Because let us not forget that ‘the fun’ isn’t over yet. Oh, no….. We still could lose a few players between now and next Saturday.
If people really want to paint the flag of their country on their face, fine for me. If people really want to support their country and think that they are better off when their country wins a friendly match against ‘Whocaresijan’ be my guest. Enjoy it. But not during the regular football season.
Still legendary are the days when we lost our traitor-to-be each and every time when he went to Holland to play for them. If he was only out for four weeks after such a match we would jump up in the air in joy. Most of the time he was out for at least four months.
What I find strange in this is that in football the laws are very strict about employment. You can only have a contract with one team. And when that team loans you to another team you cannot play against the team that owns you. This is to prevent a clash of interests where a player could harm or decides not to harm the team that owns him.
If as a player you sign a contract for two teams at the same time, you are in trouble and you will be banned from playing football for a while till the whole contract issue is sorted out.
A player can only be owned by one team. That is how it is and how it should be.
But yet that player can still play for another team. Even without permission of the club that owns him. Whenever Fifa or Uefa is saying: this date national team can play matches, the whole rule goes overboard.
The national team can do what they want when they takeover that player. If they would say we want that player to train for five days a week for ten hours a day while on duty for their country there is nothing a club manager can do. Except hope and pray maybe.
We have seen how Vermaelen’s career was ruined by negligence of the Belgium national team who played him not once but on several occasions with an injury that went from bad to worse after having played for them. His Achilles injury, his back injury, his thigh injury…all from being played for Belgium with a little niggle.
And yet when fit he hopes to play for them again. I have met him personally and he didn’t seem to be a footballer of the really dumb specimen. And yet he will risk his body again and his career if he gets the chance. Thinking back at it …he isn’t as smart as I thought he was.
Now I know that there are some people who like international football. And in a way I don’t want to take away their fun completely. But why on earth can’t we put these international matches together in a few weeks after the regular season has finished. If you take out the usually four weekends of international football we have now in a season we could finish the season around 4 weeks earlier.
And then players could play another four weeks for their national team and play six to eight matches in qualifiers for a tournament in whatever brown envelop country that has given most to the big boys at the top of Fifa and Uefa.
That would mean that their season would end around the end of May or halfway June if one really wants it. Then they could have one month off before the training for the new season starts with their clubs.
And if they get a minor injury they could even be fit before the start of the new season. Ok, if they get a serious injury they could still miss the biggest part of the coming season but then the club would know this in advance and can take counter measures.
Now you can have a situation where the transfer windows ends on 31/08 of the calendar year and a few days later in the silly internationals weekend a team can lose half its team for the rest of the season with bad injuries. And then they don’t have the chance to correct it! At least not till January.
This is completely unacceptable.
And even if the injuries from Ramsey and Welbeck aren’t too bad and they can play again even next weekend I still stand with this. Enough is enough for me and I want it to stop. If an Arsenal player wants to get injured, let it be by playing for Arsenal. Of course I would want no Arsenal player to get injured at all but then I can accept it.
Now I have to once again start fearing for this and that player and for those who still have to play for their country this week.
Hey Mr. Platini and Mr. Blatter, keep your filthy hands of our players!
Today’s anniversaries: three cup semi-finals
31 March 1906: Arsenal played in FA Cup semi final for first time. Prior to this they had never gone beyond the second round, and spent most of their time in the qualifying rounds.
31 March 1971: Arsenal reached the F.A. Cup Final by beating Stoke City 2-0 in the semi-final replay with goals from Graham and Kennedy. It took Arsenal to their first Cup Final in 19 years.
31 March 1979: Arsenal beat Wolverhampton W (managed by John Barnwell) in our 14th FA Cup semi final
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