Should England play their qualifying matches on a weekend?
It’s that time in the football calender again, where the masses of football fans despair at the lack of weekend viewing options on television.
With England set to take on Switzerland for the first Euro 2016 qualifying match, issues linger as to why the FA didn’t fight for the Three Lions to play on a Saturday afternoon, when arguably viewing figures would be at their highest.
The global audience for the Premier League stands at around 4.7bn, with most of the matches taking place on Saturdays and Sundays, supplying hours of entertainment to die-hard football fanatics. Many of the top performers plying their trade in England’s elite league make up the country’s national team, and are the topic of many a conversation and never far from the attention of the media.
Should it logically follow then, that their qualifying fixtures be played when more people have the opportunity and the time to watch them, as is the case on a usual Premier League weekend? There have been persistent grievances about the international break for over a decade, with something new brought to the surface each time.
Sensibly speaking, a Monday night isn’t the best option for England to play, quite simply because most of the potential audience may be commuting after a long day at work. Furthermore, play on a weekend and people will fill the hostelries around the country and can enjoy the match while having a drink. This is far less likely to happen at the start of a working week.
Going forward, it is an issue that really should be addressed with clarity, and a committed conviction to meeting the needs of England’s footballing public. Priority should be given to the highest ranked seeds to play when they will get the most audience, and as far as the Three Lions are concerned a Saturday afternoon could not be anymore ideal.