Players and Fans Across Europe Boycott UEFA International breaks

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International breaks are held during the soccer season to allow players in the UEFA to play internationally but players, coaches, and fans, are severely unhappy with how UEFA is carrying their competitions out during covid. 

 

The main problem regarding these breaks is that players from across most of the leagues get together to represent their nation, and the chance of exposure to Covid-19 becomes extremely higher. Players may also end up getting an injury while away for international duty as the schedule is tight, often scheduling teams to play three times in one week

 

Clubs are always resentful to send players on international break but usually keep quiet. However,  during a time like this, many big names of the sport have been critiquing these breaks and calling for them to be cancelled or postponed. Jose Mourinho was famously unhappy with the break and made his feelings heard over Instagram. 

 

The coach posted a picture of himself at Tottenham Hotspur’s training facility, and then captioned with a passive-aggressive message. “Amazing weekend of football.” The Portuguese coach wrote. “Great emotions in the national teams matches, superb friendlies and total safety. Covid test results after matches have been played, randomers running onto the pitch while team sessions are taking place and much more. After another session with only 6 players, it is now time to take care of myself.”

 

Clearly, Mourinho was not impressed by the way UEFA organized themselves, but he wasn’t the only one. Over in Italy, team owners Angelli, De Laurentis, and Marotta have considered not allowing their players to leave for International Duty. The respective presidents of Juventus, Napoli, and Inter are worried players may contract Covid-19 or pick up injuries while away, and feel it’s more important for them to focus on domestic and European competitions as of right now. 

 

Many of Italy’s best talents are property of these teams, which would mean a terrible drop of performance in the Italian National team. On top of this, huge names like Ronaldo and Lukaku would also be stuck in Italy which would make International soccer all the less exciting. If many more teams join this initiative, it might be right to suspend international soccer altogether for the moment as it would drop performance standards and not be a strong reflective competition for each international team. 

 

Despite everything, there are some who don’t feel these breaks are wrong. England’s manager Gareth Southgate has in fact taken defense upon International Breaks. Southgate feels it is everyone’s fault that players are suffering during these breaks as the calendar is in general too congested, and that is the Premier League responsibility. He also suggests the 5 substitution rule is reintroduced in the Premier League to cut some workload from the players. 

 

Despite some of his players picking up injuries, the Brit said these breaks are important for him and his team in preparation of the Euros next year, and that the players enjoy coming out and representing their nation and winning games. To finish off he says it’s not just international soccer’s fault, but rather the collective load of European, club, and international games. 

 

So far, players like Ronaldo, Mbappe, Keita, Salah, Brozovic, Bastoni and Mckennie, to name a few, have all been exposed to Covid-19 while on international duty, and have missed or will miss domestic games while they recover. With teams being deprived of some of their best players for something that could be handled better, the question comes natural: Are International breaks really worth during the pandemic?