Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Mid-season Break

A few weeks ago, the family were drafted in to help one of my brothers move home. It was a fairly miserable day, especially due to fairly heavy snow. As is my wont, I listened to the coverage of football that afternoon, which saw a lot of games cancelled due to the weather, and some games start only to be abandoned. And, as always happens when that occurs, the major debate of the day was about whether Scottish football should have a mid-season break in January to prevent matches being called off.

The problem with that strategy, though, and the one that always gets brought up when this is debated, is that the weather in Scotland is fairly unpredictable - there may be heavy snow in January and matches may be called off... or January may be fine and February be marked with terrible weather. We just don't know from one year to the next. So scheduling a mid-season break is problematic.

But I would have thought something can be done. Specifically:

  1. Look into starting the season a couple of weeks earlier and/or ending a couple of weeks later, as if the season were being structured for a mid-season break.
  2. Don't schedule a formal mid-season break. However, when the weather is poor in December, January, and February, be quicker to call off a match. Where now the default approach is that a match will be on unless the pitch is truly unplayable, the approach should instead be that if the weather is notably bad then the game should be called off by default. (And, basically, almost no game should ever be abandoned - if the weather is bad enough that that was a meaningful risk, the game should have been called off long before.)
  3. If we get though December, January, and February with no, or very few, games called off, the fixtures later in the season can be spread out a little more, allowing the players more time to recover between matches. Whereas it's currently not at all uncommon for teams to have three matches in eight days near the end of the season, that would simply not happen if the three worst months were playable.

It's crazy, but it just might work!

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