OPINION: Is it wise to conduct international football friendlies during such times of distress?

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The international break is generally considered as a time for footballers around the world to recharge their batteries or even get a run out returning from injuries and discomforts to gain a level of match fitness.

But during unprecedented times where club football schedules are already compressed and hurried in nature, is it really a necessity to conduct international friendlies which can, in fact, lead to injuries and further chaos in the football community?

Consider the last few days in motion as examples. England manager Gareth Southgate announced in his press conference that Liverpool defender Joe Gomez was injured in a training session and went down with a level of excruciating pain. It was later revealed after scans that he had suffered tendon damage and could now be out for a largely extended period of at least 6 months before he can begin rehabilitation.

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Last night in the friendly between Spain and Netherlands, Manchester City defender Nathan Ake clutched his hamstring and went down with some discomfort. This was merely 5 minutes into the game. Both clubs, Liverpool and Manchester City will raise the same question – are friendlies playing with the national team really necessary in the present time? 

Man City suffer injury scare as Nathan Ake limps off in Holland's friendly  with Spain | Daily Mail Online

Granted, the UEFA Nations League matches must be allowed to go on considering it is an official competition that has prior approval from the governing body. But, the matches scheduled otherwise will only really give rise to more uncertainties in a time plagued by the coronavirus pandemic.

One can actually make the point that instead of restraining COVID positive cases, the regrouping of national team camps will in fact give rise to further spreading of the virus. It also increases the fatigue of a player’s workload at a time where training sessions are differently conducted.

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Therefore, FIFA really need to look into this issue and hopefully, there are at least reduced, or even better, at least no friendly matches in the next international break. 

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Bhargav Gopal
The quintessential football aficionado who knows a thing or two about Economics. One can often find me reading detective novels with coffee when I am away from the sports world.

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