Once again, we have had to endure another international break. Negatively for parent clubs, it returned a whole host of injures. On the plus side, it has given underachieving players the stage to get themselves back to the player they think they are. England’s last game against San Marino hit it home hard for me. 10-0! There needs to be a little more transparency here. Players that are not performing at club level but are now back to Ballon d’Or winners. Top marks for scoring a hat-trick against a team that should not even be in the same qualifying group.
FIFA for me, work on a numbers game. Just like UEFA’s flagship ‘the Champions League’, they are driven by money and who will give them the biggest revenue. For FIFA to make this work, they must get as many of the so-called ‘bigger nations’, to the finals. This is how we end with the minnows in world football, like San Marino getting into groups with an opposition that is out of their league and getting beat 10-0.
Now that’s is not me by no means saying that if San Marino were in another group, that they would get to the finals. But for supports and players alike, surely FIFA can come up with a different system to what it has now, and make the qualifiers a little more interesting. Why can we not see a group in qualifying like, ‘Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and England’. Now that would make me more excited for the international break.
Now for the minnows, it can also be perceived to be positive. As a Northern Ireland fan, they have just held mighty Italy to a goalless draw. Now, look at the difference in teams. The majority of the Northern Ireland players play in the lower divisions of English football. A real achievement if you look at the stars on show for Italy. But another positive spin you could put on it would be the revenue such a game would generate.
Another thing we are starting to witness more of is the injuries that players are coming back with. It must give their parent clubs a headache. I am a realist and accept that players will get injured. But the Premier League is funded by the TV companies and the paying public. The public wants to see stars on show. Not sitting on the sidelines as they have come back from a game against San Marino and won 10-0.
You could also question players travelling in and out of countries during the pandemic. Let’s face it, we are still in one. There are still players travelling to countries that cannot even afford the vaccine programme. But yet we have players dancing to UEFA’s tune and going to play. Only this week Austria has gone back into full lockdown. Which countries will follow?
Everything about FIFA is about money. How can they get their best payday? The World cup is to be played in Qatar. I couldn’t believe it when that was announced. But then that is how football is going. Money is talking more than the fans.
As a football fan that loves to take in as many games as possible, it would be great to see something different. Change the way qualification happens. Make it more competitive and make the so-called bigger nations work for their qualification. Seems they have a two-year warm-up period before they go to the finals. Maybe it will also show up some nations how good they are.