It is not very often that you see Arsene Wenger get angry, but in Arsenal pre-match press conference this morning he got very animated when talking about why the season is starting one week early to try and ease the congestion at Xmas….
“I think it is a massive mistake for England to start one week earlier because you have no Christmas break,” he said on the official Arsenal website. “I don’t know who came up with the idea that one game less at Christmas deserves one week holiday less, especially when you have a European Championship after the season.
“The difficulty nowadays is to find holidays for the players. In the FIFA rules, you have to give four weeks holiday to your players. Soon, if you want to do that, you start the season with the youth team because all your players should be on holiday when you start the season.
“If you make it earlier and the competition lasts longer… next season the European Championship plays with 24 teams and that makes the competition last longer. It lasts nearly a month now. So it will finish later and we will start the season earlier and that means the players have no holiday.
“I don’t know why we weren’t consulted,” added Wenger. “These kinds of decisions are taken in meetings where we are not involved. But a natural rest for a player – every doctor tells you that – from the micro-contusions on the bones takes six weeks to heal out completely.
“You had that in England before but no player gets that anymore at the top level. They get two to three weeks.”
It is a bit hard to understand. Look at Alexis Sanchez. Last summer he left Real Madrid and went with Chile to the World Cup Finals where he played four games as his team made the last 16. Then he came to Arsenal and was thrown in immediately and ended up playing 52 games in his first campaign in the Premier League. Then he goes straight off to play in the Copa America, and Chile go all the way to winning the Final after extra time and penalties. He must be exhausted. Football today is a lot more demanding then it was a couple of decades ago and that is proven by the continuous injuries sustained by the players.
If they are going to make the international tournaments longer and longer than perhaps we should start looking at reducing the amount of teams in the Premiership again to shorten the season just a little bit?