By JS Jardine | 30 DEC 2019
Christmas is a time of excess when it comes to family, food, drink and football. It’s one of the most hectic times of the year for the English Premier League with four Matchday fixtures from 21st of December 2019 to the 1st/2nd of January 2020. As other football players across Europe are enjoying their relaxing winter break, English Premier League players are engaged in the grueling schedule set upon them by the English tradition of festive football.
Football fans love the Christmas festive period games, illustrating the importance of football in their lives. The economic and social impact of football on the festive period is great, with English football supporters scheduling their free time around the matches instead of going for a stroll in the forest, going to the cinema or even planning a family holiday abroad. Most football supporters will agree with the fans in the video below from Betway Football, that the “really good thing” about Christmas is that you have a lot of games crammed together. There’s more time off, everyone is around, and everyone is up to going to watch a football game. The holiday highlight, is the boxing day game after Christmas day, you want to get out, have a little walk, also have a few beers and hopefully you will win. You have that enjoyment and excitement, because football is just part of Christmas. It’s Christmas day part 2. It’s a great time for fans from the family to go out, spend the time together and experience the joy of a football match.
Premier League managers and players feel a little different about the festive period games. As fans are tucking into their turkey on Christmas day looking forward to the football; managers, players and staff are apologizing to their family for not being able to spend more time with them, since they need to go to work. Footballers miss out on a lot of family time, cutting their time short with their children on Christmas day and sleeping in the hotel the night before the match. They know that is what they signed up for, but they still wish they can spend more time with their family on Christmas. On the other hand, players recognize that the actual essence of playing the games over Boxing day and New Year’s is fantastic for supporters, a kind of tradition. Still, what about the higher number of players’ injuries due to the cold and jamming of games. Recent research confirmed that elite football teams (i.e. Premier League clubs) that do not have a winter break lose on average 303 player-days more per season to injuries than those teams that do have a winter break. The festive period has a huge impact on the football industry, economy and health. So, yes managers and players were right to complain about having too many matches to play in such a short period of time. At least now, employees of the football industry in England can look forward to their winter break following the New Year’s fixtures till the 9th of January 2020.