This week Premier League players were granted an extra Saturday off each February, made possible by moving an FA cup game to midweek and cancelling any replays. Bad news for the lower division clubs who need the FA Cup income. Their players play more games for lower wages, but you don’t hear them requesting concessions like the ones already been made to the top division.
There used to be 42 league games a year. Now there are 38. Then teams could only field one substitute. Now they are allowed three. Clubs used to pick their best side in all competitions. Now they field the reserves in domestic cups, with fewer replays, and, in some cases, enter at a later round.
The clubs demanding a winter break are the same ones who swapped friendlies at local non-league clubs for extravagant tours of the Far East and America. The same ones who backed the expansion of European competitions, specifically the misnamed Champions League. In 1984 Liverpool won the European Cup as English champions, playing 9 games. Despite not being champions since 1990 they reached the final of this year’s Champions League, playing 15 games.
We can agree that the highly played professional athletes deserve a break or we can wonder why the departing Chief Executive of the Premier League found it necessary to stress again that there are no plans for a European Super League.