During this festive period, there have been many midweek and weekend football matches. From the EFL to the Premier League, every team is in fierce competition with another. While we all take time off for our Christmas break, footballers prepare for more work to fulfil our festive entertainment needs. Premier League matches are played just before Christmas eve, on boxing day, on the weekend following and then on New Year’s day or the days after. However, when everyone is taking the time to spend quality time with their family, is this really in the best interest of the fans and the players?
With four games being played in two weeks, it is hard to see how many fans could possibly maintain their enthusiasm for every match
Every football fan looks forward to the weekend to see their team play. However, with four games being played in two weeks, it is hard to see how many fans could possibly maintain their enthusiasm for every match. Many will be running around getting last minute gifts, finalising their Christmas day preparations or travelling. During such a busy time of year, it is almost counterproductive to schedule more football matches, when less people have the time to take out to watch them.
That said, the winter schedule has opened up a lot more compared to previous decades. The last English league football match to be played on Christmas day was in 1965, and the last Premier League match to be played on Christmas eve was in 1995. This has allowed players to be able to enjoy Christmas day at home, as we do. They no longer have to worry about playing on that day or wonder whether they will get home in time to open presents after travelling to play the day before. Therefore, there is perhaps no real complaint to be made about footballers being overworked during the Christmas season.
There have been talks about the Premier League getting a winter break, as other European leagues do
However, players still play on boxing day and so do not truly get to rest or enjoy their Christmas turkey in the same way that we do. The frequency of matches will especially be tough on smaller clubs who are not as used to playing back to back games as the top clubs are, who compete in various competitions at once. At this time, players will become more prone to injury and already weak teams will be playing with even weaker squads. Although, for smaller clubs who do perform well during this period, it could give them more publicity and allow them to grow their fan base.
There have been talks about the Premier League getting a winter break, as other European leagues do. It could take effect in 2020 with teams getting a fortnight of rest, allowing teams to recover from the first half of the season’s high-intensity matches. However, if it goes ahead, it will not take place during the Christmas period. What should really be considered is a Christmas holiday for all English teams.
People need more matches to entertain them and to talk about, whether or not they can keep up
A Christmas holiday would mean that football players can enjoy the festivities as much as others do, recover and recuperate from the high intensity matches, and enter the new year full of energy and ready to perform well. Small clubs who have less players to rotate for matches will benefit a lot and will have their players prepared to be a threat to the big teams. This would also make football fans hyped for the first matches played after the Christmas period.
No matter how seriously we take these suggestions, Christmas time would just not be the same without the excitement of football and the togetherness (or divide) that it brings. While at home, people need more matches to entertain them and to talk about, whether or not they can keep up. The demands of the Christmas period is yet another challenge which gives the Premier League its reputation of being one of the most competitive leagues in football.