Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Friendlies just not worth the hassle

I appreciate that Michael O’Neill will have learnt a lot from last Wednesday night even if Northern Ireland lost heavily.

However, hand on heart, are there many of us who believe that friendly games are worth the bother?

Set in an era when you are tripping over international matches, hasn’t the time come when there’s an acute need to redress the balance between club and country commitments?

That’s why I certainly welcome the news of an agreement between Uefa and the European Clubs’ Association to limit the number of internationals to nine ‘double-headers’ over a two year period. With qualifying groups usually requiring ten games, shouldn’t a total of eighteen be enough?

The trouble is this ‘agreement’ needs ratification by Fifa which isn’t likely to be forthcoming.

Fifa is wildly jealous of the European Champions League; a competition many of us feel has a greater depth of quality than any World Cup. ‘Playing ball’ with the hated clubs is probably bottom of the list of Fifa’s priorities no matter how much sense it makes.

Belfast Telegraph

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