The Summer of Football

The global pandemic that brought the world to its knees has also interrupted our beloved football. As the Bundesliga restarted, and teams from other leagues have begun to return to training, the reality of this interruption is beginning to hit: teams will be playing in summer heat.

First injury of the summer

While many players have consistently trained and competed in the World Cup and Euros tournaments, this summer will be different. The trainings are different, the number of games are different, and the season will be longer than a tournament. For example, Serie A initially suggested scheduling games at 4:30pm, 6:45pm, and 9pm. However, the Players Association argued against the 4:30pm playing times, because it will be too hot in June and July to play so early.

The heat can cause dehydration and other issues, including increased injuries. In fact, in recent years, FIFA changed their rules to require water breaks when there are higher temperatures, because it is such a risk for even professional athletes. We have already seen one injury, as Ibrahimovic suffered an apparent calf lesion in Monday’s training. Injuries are normal in football, obviously, but we may see an increase due to both the unexpected interruption of proper training and also the summer heat.

Whatever it takes

On his recent podcast, Asmir Begović responded to the issue of playing during the heat of summer, as well as having a much shorter break between seasons this year. Players seem very anxious to play, and in addition to facing the risks of COVID-19, most are probably grateful enough for the opportunity to play again regardless of the circumstances. However, clubs need to be careful and protect their players as much as possible due to so many different health factors this year.

The shortened break could see injuries increase well into next season. Sure, the players have had a very sudden and unplanned break now, but mentally and physically, it is very different than they are used to. Teams that are competing in Europe will have virtually no break at all for their players if the tentative plans hold up and the Europa League and Champions League finals are held at the end of August. With leagues wanting to begin next season in early to mid-September, they will get at best two weeks off before the season begins again.

Returning when the season would normally end

Another factor this summer that is still entirely up in the air is the transfer season. Will there be one? Can any club even afford to make changes? When will it be? Teams competing in Europe are not going to want to make changes until the trophies are awarded. Yet some players have contracts expiring June 30th. Will it be a whirlwind mercato in the beginning of September? Will teams playing in Europe just have to deal with changes? Or will teams stay the same until January? After such a bizarre few months with COVID-19, the abnormalities may have only just begun for this summer.

The world has been turned upside down. No surprise, then, that football has, too. Regardless of competing in the summer heat, having a very short break between seasons, and more questions than answers about contracts and transfers, football appears to be coming back. And this summer, I will be grateful for every single moment of it, no matter how bizarre it may be.

This post inspired by the music of Ella Fitzgerald’s cover of “Summertime”

The Summer of Football The Summer of Football Reviewed by Elaine on 1:28 AM Rating: 5
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