The bane of every football fan’s life.
Just three weeks into the beginning of the Premier League season, the first international break looms. We can handle one. We waited three months over summer for the return of football, so what’s three more weeks, right?
A two-week layoff in August-September is followed by two more at the beginning of October and November.
It’s too much too soon. It feeds into the disdain for international football when fans have to trade their clubs for the dreary shows put on by the English national team.
Is it possible to improve this situation and engender some genuine excitement ahead of future international breaks?
1 Spread the games around
After three long months, the wait is finally over and you can watch your beloved team play competitive football once more and before you know it they're gone for two weeks.
We have another lay-off almost as soon as it's started. Only three Premier League games have been played so far, yet we have already had an international break.
If FIFA want international football to be more exciting, they should at least let the football league season get underway first so fans can enjoy a consistent fix of domestic football.
2 Switch all games to the end of the season
This is perhaps a progression from point one.
Many of the international fixtures we have to sit down and endure are meaningless friendlies. FIFA should then play all international fixtures to the end of the club season.
These games could comfortably fit into a three-week period and not distract from club football.
Not only that, fans would appreciate their country playing more frequently in a shorter timeframe as it wouldn't be at the loss of watching their club play.
Players may have to take an extra few weeks off, but surely that's better than losing eight weeks of the club season?
However, there is the issue of what to do when there is an international tournament at the end of the season.
This option should be considered when there is no World Cup or European Championships to end the campaign, however.
3 A loyalty points system
Half of the reason it's so dire watching international football is often the flat atmosphere, in particular at Wembley, which then translates onto the pitch.
The rows and rows of empty seats, largely down to the ridiculously high number that goes to corporate spectators, who would rather enjoy their prawn sandwich sitting inside with a nice glass of Prosecco than watch the game, is an issue that needs addressing.
Perhaps then, the FA should award loyalty points to fans who attempt to attend the international games out of their own pocket.
These loyalty points could be transferred to their club membership, meaning there is a bigger chance they will get tickets for matches to watch their team play. This would encourage more fans to turn up.
Hopefully, a packed out stadium with a better atmosphere would lead to a more exciting and watchable game.
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