x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Spanish players bear brunt of poor scheduling

Lack of foresight from the authorities has resulted in worn-out players being under prepared for crucial club and international matches.

Xavi Hernandez looks dejected Barcelona lose to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final. Barca players were over-worked due to poor scheduling. Lluis Gene / AFP
Xavi Hernandez looks dejected Barcelona lose to Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final. Barca players were over-worked due to poor scheduling. Lluis Gene / AFP

Spanish football has some of the world's best players and clubs, yet the authorities in charge of the game are anything but the best. Had you wanted, this Monday, to watch a game this weekend then you have been unable to make plans as the dates and times of the games had not been confirmed five days before they were due to take place. It's ridiculous.

The same authorities scheduled the second clasico of the season between the Champions League semi-finals. There was more than a fair chance that Barcelona or Real Madrid would be in those semi-finals and so it proved. Both were eliminated and could have done without their most taxing games of the season three and four days before the second leg. Bayern Munich and Chelsea could rest most of their team, a luxury Spain's big two did not have as they faced off in a vital match.

Nobody is asking for favouritism, just more realism. Yet the authorities repeatedly get it wrong.

A date (or venue) could not be decided for the forthcoming Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao before May 25 finally was fixed. That is just 15 days before Euro 2012 starts, giving the many Spain players who play for Athletic and Barca no chance of a rest. Worse still, it's two weeks after the end of the domestic season. The authorities wanted it on the weekend of May 19, but that is when the Champions League final is being played, and they expected Barca or Real to be in it. They are not, in part because of the Spanish FA's hapless organisation.

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