Though it might not last for much longer, English soccer's insistence on not taking a winter break will be one of those things we miss when it's gone. The Premier League and the lower divisions not only play through, they load up on games around the holidays. Even if the weather isn't accommodating, the games continue. There's no stop-start to the season, resetting in January when the transfer window is open. That's not the situation in parts of mainland Europe.
Weather is a bigger issue in places like Germany and the Netherlands, but not a big enough issue to shut down the schedule for the better part of a month. Then there's France, Spain, and Italy also taking time off in December and January. Scotland signed up as well, with England eventually set to follow.
The problem with most of these examples is that the teams aren't really taking a break. Instead, they relocate to someplace warmer and play out a second version of the preseason. That's why we find Eintracht and Ajax in central Florida participating in the Florida Cup and a collection of teams in places like Spain. That Spain's La Liga is already back in action after their break creates an odd circumstance. The local teams are playing games that count while teams from other countries play friendlies.
Given the risk of injury even in friendly settings, it's tough to argue that the foreign winter training camps make much sense. There's more travel involved for some clubs than others, and it's still continuing to train and play friendlies while other teams play for points. When the Champions League and Europa League resume in February, there has to be a continuity advantage for the leagues that either take a short break or none at all.
The Bundesliga shutting down for the better part of the month is their choice, but it's also a throwback to an earlier era. There are answers for field conditions and stadium comfort. There's also that competitive question. If a shorter break creates a competitive advantage for the knockout round of the Champions League, why would any league in Europe insist on taking weeks off?
The Austin American-Statesman's Chris Bils with what should be the announcement for the city's MLS expansion team set for January 15. The Austin Business Journal's Daniel Salazar on the next step for Austin FC. The Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman reports that the proposed USL stadium at Chicago's Lincoln Yards won't happen due to political opposition.
Inside World Football's Andrew Warshaw explains the political issues with the Confederation of African Football. ESPN's Tim Vickery tells the story of Marlos Moreno to make a point about European soccer and young foreign players.
"Stop putting live soccer rights behind additional paywalls."— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) January 9, 2019
Soccer hasn't grown nearly enough in the US to shut out new fans with barriers to watching games.
For all of Planet Fútbol TV Episode 55, go here: https://t.co/ZJAwifwp3Hpic.twitter.com/7vbPEIxxtv
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