What does it mean to the average Chelsea fan to see our players representing their country?
Does the seemingly constant booing of our players, at Wembley, aggravate you as it does me?
The club versus country argument has been a constant subject of discussion for the last 20 years since the sudden increases in pointless friendly internationals. Being a big club means we draw players from all over the world, which is great to see, but means that we lose players on a regular basis to tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations, ridiculously held in January and February.
Injuries from Internationals also can have a negative effect on club sides. Whereas UEFA, under Platini, seems sympathetic, FIFA, under Blatter, are most definitely not. A recent agreement between European clubs and UEFA has been made whereas the number of international fixtures would be halved from 12 to six a year, but the new agreement would see nine double-headers over a two-year period. This would mean A one-off friendly like England’s match with the Netherlands on Wednesday would not take place. However the compromise deal has yet to be agreed with world governing body FIFA. In a new memorandum of understanding between UEFA and the clubs, it was agreed the two matches in each double-header should be played on the same continent, and in future the final tournaments of all confederations will end in mid July, and players would not be expected to feature in more than one international tournament a year.
The agreement on the proposals of the international calendar would see the unpopular friendly date in August removed from the schedule.
The clubs have, however, been unable to persuade UEFA to back them in their opposition to the ridiculous timing of the Africa Cup of Nations in January and February. The agreement merely states that the tournament “shall start as soon as possible in January”. The ECA (European Club Association) is chaired by German legend Karl Heinze Rummenigge and acts on behalf of 201 top European club sides which, amazingly, includes Aston Villa and Fulham. Rummenigge said: “The agreement with UEFA is a major breakthrough for European club football. “While an agreement has been reached with UEFA, the situation remains unsatisfactory in relation to FIFA. Unfortunately, discussions with the FIFA president have failed to lead to a satisfactory outcome which takes account of the clubs’ demands.” Football’s world governing body FIFA said it was “surprised” by the ECA’s comments and that a working group which includes confederations, national associations, clubs and players would discuss the next international match calendar at a meeting on 5 March.
The statement added: “ECA representatives have previously declined attendance to other FIFA committee meetings, making it very difficult for progress to be made in discussions with the European clubs. “The international dates and the international match calendar have to be applied on a worldwide basis and that this calendar is ultimately regulated by FIFA.” UEFA has also agreed to take out insurance to cover the wages of all players injured on international duty, starting at Euro 2012, and to increase the amount of money paid to clubs for their players taking part in the tournament. The sum was £46.6m for the last tournament and the new figure – a “substantial increase” according to the ECA – will be announced in March. So what does this mean for Chelsea?
As far as the African players are concerned it means very little. We will still have to lose our African boys and also take into consideration whether we sign African players in the future. With regards to non African players it means we wont have so many ‘International breaks’ when our players disappear to all parts and lose one or two, normally, to injury. Also we can probably get more out of our international players. If you look at Frank Lampard, at 33, is he better off going off to England games or would we prefer him to be putting his size 9’s up with Christine?
Personally I’d rather he did the latter as the sound of all those Arsenal fans booing him ticked me off. Look at all the rubbish JT has had to put up with. Although I was as proud as the next Chelsea fan to see John as England captain the recent publicity, courtesy of Rio’s less talented brother, has done neither our captain or the club any good at all. So maybe we should say those players under the age of 30 are welcome to go off on international friendly duty but those older should be watching the match on telly with the rest of us.
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