How uncanny is my valley
This week in soccer, the clubs give way to the national teams. For some followers of the game — the special, enlightened, deeply attractive ones — it is a time of intrigue, with World Cup qualifiers taking place across the globe, and the final slots in the European Championships being filled. For others, it is anything but; to them, this is the first day of the Interlull. This appellation has caught on in recent years amongst those who dread the intermittent periods throughout the season when the fireworks of the Greatest League in the World—all of the Greatest Leagues in the World—fall silent, and the comforting whalesong of innuendo and scuttlebutt fades, to be replaced by nereids singing the Sammarinese national anthem.
With these benighted souls, the clubs themselves agree. They despise international football. It is they, after all, who are daft enough to shell out such high transfer fees and pay the players such extravagant salaries. (In 2009-10, Premier League clubs spent on average 68 percent of their income on player wages.) Players are not just employees: they are assets. Every few months, players are rented out to national teams in return for nothing but anxiety. When a player gets injured while playing or training with his national side, his club is owed compensation. A player is worth an amount of hard currency, and as far as the clubs are concerned, the national associations can’t pay it. If they could, the clubs would put international football to sleep. They might yet have their way.
Reblogged from The Classical