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Thursday Cannon Fodder: irresponsible

Southampton v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

It’s incredibly irresponsible of UEFA and national federations to be playing international friendlies and whatever-the-heck-their-latest-competition-is-called (Nations League) matches right now. We are still in the midst of an extremely contagious pandemic. There are signs that Europe is entering a second wave, and epidemiologists have been cautioning for months that the fall and the winter could prove dangerous for a resurgence.

So why are we sending players across the continent and world to interact with teammates who are coming in from other places? Forcing them to travel and risk exposure by increasing their contact with the public. Every “optional” thing we do forces risk on people who don’t really have much of an opportunity to accept or reject it. The stadium workers, public servants, etc. need to work because if they don’t, they’ll lose their jobs in the midst of a massive, global economic downtown.

But back to the question of why. It’s simple. Money. The international organizations and federations want their piece of the “football is back” pie.

Kieran Tierney, Ryan Christie, and two members of Scotland’s staff were exposed to COVID-19 because of close contact with Stuart Armstrong. That didn’t have to happen. We don’t need to be playing international fixtures right now. It’s going to happen with other countries, too. And if we keep it up, we’re risking a post-international matches outbreak making it’s way back to a domestic league and really fouling things up.

I’ve made my (disgruntled) peace with domestic football. From a moral standpoint, we probably shouldn’t be playing, but to their credit, so far, the domestic leagues have shown themselves more-or-less capable of handling things (last weekend’s situation with Napoli and Juventus aside). But this international stuff isn’t necessary.