The A-League Men must fix their scheduling of matches

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This A-League Men season has been a disruptive one, with the rescheduling of matches not favouring players, managers or fans.

It seemed like the world tried to stop football this year. With COVID-19 running rampant, and bad weather proving too much for our beloved game to be played.

So the postponements of these matches were sensible and the most viable solution for all the games to be played.

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But it seems as though the A-League Men have chucked in these ‘cancelled’ games on any day within the schedule without any thought.

Throughout the season, coaches and players have repetitively touched on one similar thing in their interviews – ‘the short turnaround’.

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Even in the most recent ALM fixture, Melbourne Victory played Brisbane Roar away with Victory head coach Tony Popovic emphasising how ridiculous his team’s schedule was leading up to the match.

“It was quite difficult for us, considering we played Friday night. It’s two-and-half days between games,” he said.

“I’m still baffled by the scheduling that we have to play today at midday.”

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Prior to the special ANZAC Day fixture, Victory played their last two games away from home – undoubtedly the players would be fatigued and prone to injury.

But it’s not just Melbourne Victory that have suffered this run of bad scheduling. Earlier this season, the Roar went on a run of several matches within a matter of less than four or five days between games, and more recently Newcastle Jets were forced to play three matches in seven days.

It’s an ongoing issue in the A-League Men and players and coaches alike have expressed their concern for each other’s health and wellbeing.

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The A-Leagues have been urged to take into consideration players’ mental and physical health, as more tight scheduling would fatigue the players and staff.

Players are at higher risk of injury as they are put through grueling travel to and from games with short turnarounds giving them almost no time to rest when considering the fact that the ALM isn’t the only matches teams prepare for.

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Coupled with the fact that the players also go through intense training, it’s an equation set up for serious injury and health issues.

It will be interesting to see if next season will have as many disruptions as this year, but postponed games moving forward need to be handled much better.

Featured Image Credit: Steve Christo

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Min-Gyu Shim
Bachelor of Journalism student at UQ, and a full time football fanatic. Covering Brisbane Roar for the 2020/21 season.

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