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Summer international schedule shambles for Newcastle United and the rest

2 weeks ago

As a Newcastle United fan, or one of indeed any other club, this summer is the one where more than any other you wished for as few players as possible chosen for their countries.

The overall football timetable is an absolute shambles, with so many different factions all fighting purely for their own interests.

The likes of UEFA, FIFA, domestic leagues around the World – especially the big five in Europe, those who run the domestic cup competitions in the different countries, then of course the FAs and national teams.

With all of them only interested in keeping / expanding their own power, it is squeezing the schedule to an incredible degree.

Basically, this is what has / is happening in these crazy times:

The 2021/22 Premier League season finished later than is usually the case – Sunday 22 May 2022

The 2022/23 Premier League season is starting earlier than is usually the case – (Weekend of ) Saturday 6 August 2022.

UEFA plan to final group games in Champions League and Europa League played no later than in week commencing Monday 31 October 2022 (last season they played the final group matches in week commencing Monday 6 December 2021).

Sixteen rounds of Premier League fixtures to be played by end of Sunday 13 November 2022 (Last season Newcastle United played their 16th PL game of the season on Sunday 12 December 2021).

On Monday 14 November 2022, Premier League players join up with national squads.

On Monday 21 November 2022  the Qatar World Cup finals kick-off.

Then Sunday 18 December 2022 is the World Cup final.

On Boxing Day (Monday 26 December 2022) Premier League football resumes, with a full round of Premier League fixtures, the first of 22 more rounds of games to be fitted in.

On Sunday 28 May 2023 the final round of Premier League 2022/23 fixtures, with only an extra week added on to the end of the season to ‘ease’ the congestion / stresses of the schedule.

Obviously, any sympathy aimed at ‘people who earn millions just for kicking a football around’ is only going to extend so far, BUT this shambles outlined above isn’t good for anybody – fans, players, whoever.

Of course, having the World Cup forced into the middle of the (European) domestic club (and Champions League etc) season is a massive factor, but it is just the big fat cherry on top of so much else that is so wrong and only getting worse, when it comes to scheduling football these days. Especially how much there is of it in the various formats.

It was of course a complete joke how Qatar (and Russia!) ‘won’ the hosting of the World Cup BUT then on top of that they (Qatar) 100% shouldn’t have been allowed to keep the 2022 World Cup once their commitment to still hold it in June / July wasn’t honoured.

Back to basics though and how all of this is affecting Newcastle United and the rest of the Premier League, plus the rest.

The Premier League ended on 22 May 2022 and then basically players called up by their countries pretty much all swiftly joined up with their national squads for the best part of three weeks, some of them even longer than that!

This weekend has seen Fabian Schar (Switzerland beat Holland but Schar watched from bench) and Emil Krafth (Sweden lost 3-2 to Norway and the NUFC defender played the full match) finally end their summer international commitments.

Miguel Almiron has had a lot of travel with Paraguay travelling to play away against both South Korea and Japan, that ending on Friday.

Bruno Guimaraes a similar story, playing against the same two countries but a bonus (for Newcastle United) that Argentina refused to travel and so a weekend friendly for Brazil in Melbourne (Australia) was cancelled, enabling him to head off slightly earlier than expected.

Elliot Anderson and Jeff Hendrick have also been playing for their countries, as has Santiago Munoz.

Whilst for Chris Wood, after a couple of friendlies so far this month, a massive game in Qatar tomorrow (Tuesday 14 June) sees New Zealand play Costa Rica, the winners of this one game final play-off going to the World Cup finals in November.

Summing up the whole stupidity of this summer’s international commitments, England had four Nations League (friendlies!) scheduled to play in June, that will end finally tomorrow as well, at home to Hungary.

Whilst for Newcastle United this one is arguably actually a bonus, as Kieran Trippier is getting valuable game time (started against both Germany and Italy, after having an injury wrecked NUFC half season), for other Premier League clubs / managers they must be less than impressed.

For example, after playing fifty games for West Ham this season, Declan Rice has started all three England June matches so far, playing all but 25 minutes of those matches. It remains to be seen whether he starts tomorrow against Hungary but as a midfielder especially, there must be so much added risk of fatigue-linked injury through so many matches / demands.

Anyway, for those Newcastle United players away on international duty, the fact remains that pre-season preparations start in only 18 days time (1 July). Any additional time allowed off, if any, for those who have played for their countries will be minimal, as the Premier League kicks off only five weeks after that date for the NUFC first team squad to return to the training ground.

I don’t know about you but international football is pretty much all abysmal to watch, apart from when the tournaments come around. For starters, they should ban all friendlies, which to me includes the waste of time Nations League.

Then when it comes to qualifying groups for World Cups and Euros, one suggestion has been to halve the games, by all clubs only playing each other once. So the fixtures get drawn and half the matches you play those countries only away, then the others only at home. Honestly, what is the point of England playing San Marino, or whoever, twice?

If they are going to have this tedious Nations League nonsense, then at least have that, countries only playing each other once, some away and some at home.

For selfish reasons I see this coming season as a massive opportunity for Newcastle United, as with comparatively very few first eleven first choice players away on international duty, only Kieran Trippier and Bruno G definite first choice next season for me, out of the NUFC internationals.

However, something has to give somewhere overall in the longer term, when it comes to all the various factions wanting as many games and as much power as possible. That though 100% can’t end up in less Premier League games as part of the answer, indeed, if I had my way we would be going back to 22 clubs in the English top tier and MORE proper matches for us, with a vast reduction in the number of games elsewhere, especially international football with England etc.


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