Friday, 14 January 2011

Summer Football: The Future?

The horrific weather conditions of mid-December are probably a distant memory for the majority of people in the UK and the almost Armageddon-like images of deserted motorways will be something to reflect on in winter 2011.

From a personal point of view, trekking for 5 hours along an empty dual-carriageway is something I will certainly not be doing again!

We should just shut down completely in the winter. Close the shops except the 24-hour ASDA and let's just hibernate, or better still go on holiday, for the winter months.

No more school. No more college. No more work and how about no more football?

Strangely enough, the concept of not playing football in the time when the country is battered by snow and rain has yet to take off in the UK. The winter calendar was hit especially hard in Scotland with over 70 postponements throughout the SPL and SFL in the month of December. Games at the top level were called off for burst pipes due to the thaw and games at the bottom were called off because of failing undersoil heating. This year's farcical football calendar is not a new thing in Scottish Football and over the past few years fixture pile-ups seems to be the norm.

The effect of the winter weather in most European countries is not felt as much as it is in the UK with the majority of leagues packing up in December and having a much-needed winter shutdown. It was well-documented that the winter break might have had a positive effect on the German national team during the World Cup with so many players in the Bundesliga. This sparked much debate in England about the positive impacts of introducing a winter break and this was echoed by Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson.

How about an even more radical change to European football by playing through the summer months?

German legend Rudi Voller said: "Of the 34 match days of the current season, you're 'frozen' during 20 of them."

His thoughts were backed by Holger Hieronymus, managing director of the German football league (DFL). He said: "I think it's feasible. When we have the chance to improve something, we can at least discuss it, but such a reform cannot be decided by Germany alone."

Rangers manager Walter Smith is also a supporter of a move to summer football but for different reasons. He said: "We need to look at moving the season forward. It is something that would help our clubs in terms of preparation for these early European games. I feel a little bit sorry for the two clubs who were involved last night as they both have new managers who are just in the door."

Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ireland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Faroe Islands and Iceland have all implemented summer football into their calendars. With a potential winter world cup in 2022, will that give the super-powers of European football the chance to consider a summer calendar?

The debate about summer football in Scotland is something which pops up on a regular occurrence whenever games become postponed due to the weather. There is a growing call for summer football in Scottish Football and with the youth season adapting to the summer calendar then it might not be far off for the professional game. Scottish teams are regularly dumped out early in Europe to teams from countries with summer football and this change has been echoed by Henry McLeish who is apparently going to save Scottish football with his revolutionary report.

It is baffling how those against summer football can still enjoy a midweek trip to Dingwall or Inverness during the winter? - That's if the game would even go ahead!

Summer football is worth considering for Scotland and for European football.

Granted, those in Southern Europe might not be caring as they get good weather all year round but us unfortunate to be in Northern Europe might see Summer Football as a future change to the football calendar. Would those in England, Holland, Belgium, and Germany be opposed to summer football?

It would be fantastic to see Scottish Football able to work alongside the rest of Europe who are in warmer climates but unless we have a lengthy winter break then I don't think that is possible. I don't think the idea of summer football will take off generally unless England and others in Europe were to follow suit.

It is time to do what's best for Scottish Football, the fans, the youth players and for the future of our game. If you want to join us Europe, then your more than welcome.

Anyway, it will be scarf, hat, gloves, snood and furry jacket for me tomorrow.

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