Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has backed a radical shake up of the football calendar, and in the process confirmed that FIFA were considering it as an option.
After a fresh batch of injuries that has laid low a number of stars during the latest international break, many managers have spoken out about the demands on players, and the increasing number of games. Barcelona themselves suffered with the injury of Gavi, out for the rest of the season, although Xavi declared that he had no issue with Spain manager Luis de la Fuente and his use of the 19-year-old.
Asked about his thoughts on a potential solution, Xavi revealed that he would divide the calendar entirely between club and international football.
“More than a small solution, which I think FIFA is considering, spending 8 or 9 months with the clubs and then the players go to the national team. And then in two or three months there will be qualification for the European Championship and the European Championship will follow.”
“It is not easy for players like Araujo to have made 13-hour trips, the players going to Latin America, Africa, Asia. It would be a good solution that FIFA is considering.”
Certainly changing football in that manner would reduce the travel time and air miles for players, something that impacts particularly non-European players. Equally, the shift of time zones and climate can be dramatic.
On the other hand, Africa holds its continental tournament in January, as the heat can be dangerous for the countries near the equator during their summer. Given the number of changes and agreements such a change would require, it could be some time before it comes in.