Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FIFA's Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds - Part II

Unless the European leagues all decide that they should change their seasons to a March to November schedule. Which is exactly what they appear to be considering.

The acting chairman of the European Club Association, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (who is also the "top official" of Bayern Munich, almost indisputably the best soccer club in the world at the moment), just last week floated the idea that the European leagues should consider playing a Spring to late Fall season just like ... well, just like the MLS season that has drawn Sepp Blatter's wrath for years.

Rummenigge's reasoning makes so much sense, highlighting the issues (particularly bad weather) that Russian professional soccer has been endured since it switched its season to coincide with UEFA's, that FIFA will find very hard to ignore.

First, Rummenigge points out that, in Germany, France, or England "summer is the best period of the year. And that is the season we don't play. In deepest winter, when it is very cold and snowing, we play nearly all the time in conditions that are disagreeable for both players and spectators. It is not logical."

Not that logic has ever gotten in the way of Blatter's or FIFA's edicts in the past.

What may well appeal to both, however, is his second argument: that switching to a March to November season would ease the pressure on those who play for both club and country by clearly demarcating the club and international seasons. Many clubs now agonize over losing players in the middle of their seasons to train and play with their national teams, taking them away from their "paying jobs" and risking fatigue and injury.

And who knows? Maybe Rummenigge's idea was floated as part of a wider scheme by Blatter himself to justify what I wrote about in the first part of this post -- moving the 2022 Qatar World Cup to the winter of 2022-23. This may be the first step in allowing Blatter to retreat from his previous hard-line position on the seasons of the MLS and Russian professional leagues and appear as eminently reasonable in doing so.

The Russians listened when Blatter told them to move their
season. And for that these players say: "Thanks Sepp!"

Either way, if the European leagues move their seasons Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner, will breathe a huge sigh of relief. And all of Blatter's blathering about its non-competitiveness because of the position of its season will be revealed as just that.

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