Should EFL play on through international breaks like rugby does?

The Championship has registered just 17 matches per club this season, but, during that time we have already had three international breaks.

Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 5:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 5:39 pm
Wes Morgan in action for Forest - a successful product of non-League football

That prompts the question, should they play on regardless like in cricket and rugby?

For clubs such as Nottingham Forest the international break can be both, a help and a hindrance.

Two prime examples were the defeat to Brentford and the victory over Middlesbrough.

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The Reds had time to reflect upon and rectify the anomalies at Griffin Park during the season’s first interval, which was the catalyst for a solid draw at Swansea next time out. However, after beating Middlesbrough and performing brilliantly in the process, all of that momentum dissipated by the time Norwich arrived at the City Ground a couple of weeks later.

So, as I downed a celebratory Guinness following Ireland’s famous victory over the New Zealand All Blacks last Saturday, it dawned on me that club rugby had carried on parallel to the autumn internationals.

England, Wales and Scotland also went to war with the world’s elite whilst the Rugby Premiership’s top two sides, Exeter and Saracens, carved out narrow victories to remain neck and neck in the top flight in the very same weekend.

Could this be a viable model for professional football clubs in Britain?

As far as the FA Premier League is concerned, I severely doubt that they would even entertain the thought of such a proposal.

And, maybe I’m being a little naive thinking to think that the Championship could one day embrace such a concept. Money and corporate marketing take precedence these days, with the majority of payments coming from the TV companies.

But, as always I’m very interested as always to gauge the opinions of the readers.

So, let’s weigh up the pros and cons of playing on through. It would make the club fixtures more competitive during international week, with the smaller clubs fancying their chances, having seen three or four of their opposition’s stars jetting off around the globe.

It would also ease fixture congestion at season’s end, when every single point becomes more significant by the day. You could even argue that it could pave the way for a winter break instead.

On the flip side, the breaks are a welcome relief for some families, especially where one or more have become perennial football widows.

For the managers, it’s vital breathing space to take stock of their playing staff, especially those recovering from injuries.

Perhaps, the most poignant of all reasons for supporting the break, as a friend pointed out to me, is a chance to go and support your local non-League clubs.

Basford United have used the international breaks to their advantage in recent years as they’ve progressed through the pyramid at a spellbinding rate.

It’s also fitting to reciprocate to clubs like Dunkirk FC, who’ve nurtured the likes of Sam Osborne, Jake Sheridan, Terry Hawkridge and Wes Morgan on their way into the professional game in recent times.

I’ve played alongside scores of footballers who went on to to turn professional but, when all’s said and done, only one of those was capped by his country.

I can’t imagine there’s any prouder moment than representing your nation and belting out the anthem with your friends and family in attendance.

Regardless of whether it’s a friendly or a competitive match, the accolade remains the same and is not to be sniffed at!

Forest return to Championship action this week against Hull City, and judging by the comments on social media, it can’t come soon enough for the majority of our supporters.

As I said earlier, it’s unlikely that the Football League will ever play through the breaks like the rugby clubs do. However, if as Nottingham Forest supporters you ever got to vote on the matter, would you be for or against your club taking international breaks?