We said it yesterday, and will second it now: This is a strange time for FIFA to mandate a bunch of international friendlies.
Just one month after the World Cup, and only days before most major domestic leagues are scheduled to get under way (and while MLS rounds toward its homestretch), players will be called to crisscross the globe to represent their countries.
Check the schedule here.
In the argument posed here, well, we have to take Harry (or ’Arry) Redknapp’s side.
England is playing Hungary at Wembley today. What if Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard picks up a knock, days before the opening weekend of the Premier League?
You can bet that Mssrs. Ferguson, Ancelotti, and Hodgson will be joining the Redknapp Chorus, and we wouldn’t blame them.
Closer to home, the Red Bulls host a pivotal Eastern Conference battle tonight with Toronto FC—the team right behind them in the standings—and the home side will be decimated as five of its players were called for international duty, including newly signed designated player Rafael Marquez.
Fortunately for Red Bulls fans, Estonia’s Joel Lindpere declined his call-up, but the team will have to do without Marquez, keeper Bouna Coundoul (Senegal), winger Dane Richards (Jamaica), and defender Roy Miller (Costa Rica).
And for what? There’s no rush for teams to test new players. The next cycle of World Cup qualifying doesn’t start for more than a year (at the earliest; the U.S. won’t start its campaign until 2012), and, again, the World Cup final was one month ago.
Come on, FIFA, give us a chance to savor that one before you start cramming the next cycle down our throats—and let your already-overtaxed players have a few gaps in their schedule.
And while you’re at it, get on that instant replay issue, stat.