Call us philistine. But as we happily settle back into a long period of club football, unadulterated by internationals, we can’t help but think what a pointless exercise The World Cup and EURO 2016 qualifiers are.
The inequality between so many teams in international football makes most of the games one-sided processions which are neither entertaining or informative. What they are is disruptive and boring.
So why can’t we do away with qualifiers altogether?
Take The World Cup. There are around 200 countries in the world, give or take the odd land dispute. Let’s just sling them all together every 4 years and have an absolute humdinger of a knockout tournament – exactly like the FA Cup. It may require the odd preliminary round to get the numbers right. But what a fascinating battle royal it would be.
This way we get to see all countries compete, like in the Olympics, and we can do away with the two years of qualification nonsense and, in so doing, massively reduce the carbon footprint of the sport – everyone wins. Except perhaps FIFA. But that just makes me want it more…
There is a constant argument about the ever increasing physical demands of football on professional players. This solution not only solves the potential health issues but also relieves us, the watching public, of the utter tedium of two week international breaks every month in which we have to suffer painfully low quality football.
Football is more about tribe (i.e. club football) than nationality anyway. Why can’t we schedule it so that we can follow our tribes more often and put less emphasis on these silly land boundaries?
Perhaps any response from FIFA to this idea would only come after days spent crunching numbers to see if they could make as much or more cash out of the new format than they currently do. Unfortunately, it’s likely that they would want to preserve the self-indulgent status quo.