An International break is never welcomed within the footballing world, and, for the most part, they never end well. They act as advert-like breaks in the middle of the most dramatic of shows, at the most exciting of times. Yet, unlike an advert break, you can’t just go for a quick toilet break before making a perfectly timed return for the action to once again commence.
Instead, two weeks of often pointless action is thrown onto our television screens; two weeks of needless, often unentertaining football played out before our eyes, and players, already forced through a congested fixture list, are asked to combine to stretch their legs one too many times, causing injury in the process.
But that was the norm, international breaks made enough sense to occur, and players, for the most part, stayed in perfect condition. At the end of the day, they were, at the very least, safe; their welfares were considered.
On this occasion, however, the welfare of players was the last thing considered when even considering the thought of an international break, let alone playing one itself amid a global pandemic.
Rise in COVID-19 Cases Exposes Naivety of International Break
An Avoidable Situation
Any unnecessary travel should be avoided amid the global pandemic of COVID-19, that’s the most glaringly obvious rule of the lot. Yet, there the players were, mixed together, asked to play in another country. And, since then, the positive COVID-19 cases have inevitably risen.
In the Premier League alone, the latest round of testing revealed 16 positive cases. The needless international break was always going to result in a spike in that number and was a naive decision by those in charge to let it go ahead in the first place,
Understandably, the European Qualifying games went ahead; the Nations League, too, could be justified, but putting players at risk for the sake of a game which literally means nothing was a reckless decision and one that must be questioned.
The entire situation should have so easily been avoided. In the midst of a global pandemic, the decision to avoid the needless mixing of players should have been made. Now, with the cases growing, it is clear that the break could have an impact on league football itself as teams are forced to kick on without the infected players, potentially harming their form and standing within the divisions.
Questions Must Be Asked
The fact is, what is usually more like an ad break could turn into an extended show once more because of what is proving to be the most harmful and most naively thought through international break. The growing cases may result in the stopping of football once again in a similar way in which it did during COVID-19’s first arrival.
Instead of a quick toilet break before settling back into one of the most thrilling Premier League season’s to date, the increasing cases, due to the international break, could result in the unfortunately familiar feeling of a football-less world should the decision be made. Though it must be said, a pause in play is yet to be reported at this moment in time.
So, for now, at least, the real football looks set to return; COVID-19 increased, yes, but a return nonetheless, away from the lack of intrigue when forced to watch on as Gareth Southgate names his five at the back, and back to watching our favourite soap opera of European football.
The questions must be asked, however, of those who let an international break go ahead in the first place; a decision which exposed a clear lack of thought for the welfare of players during a time when it needs to be at the forefront.
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