"To break the international truce is to serve the agenda of rich clubs"

The matches of the national teams, especially during the qualification phases for international competitions, are often considered as "purges". A symptom of club hegemony, writes columnist Jerome Latta.

Time to Reading 3 min.

"Everyone hates the international truce. " The slogan is not yet in front of processions of enthusiastic supporters, but a simple search on Twitter indicates the massive level of this hate, become a forced figure in recent years. Where does so much hatred come from?

A short and painful victory over a penalty kick, against an opponent huddled in a lousy stadium: Iceland-France (0-1) did not help to calm these feelings, nor contradicts the idea that the playoffs (here for Euro 2020 ) are a tedious formality that can only hold unpleasant surprises.

Deprived of many talents (Mbappé, Pogba, Kanté, Hernandez …), the Blues went to take three points without healing their artistic note. Griezmann and the clerks like Digne, Sissoko or Tolisso will not be credited with their modest (but indispensable) victory.

In a state of lack

Alas, there is no bard to sing this kind of harsh feat by devoting couplets to Andorra-France 1999 and bucolic movements in the Faroe Islands. On the contrary, the verdict falls: it is "a purge", and it is shameful. The victory should have been beautiful, even if the Icelandic game plan had the first objective that it could not be.

The desire for football is no longer born of waiting and scarcity, it has become an assured need by infusion.

We would be wholeheartedly with the romantics if we were sure they would greet a defeat conceded with panache, or even forgive a non-qualification to the Euro. In any case, this exasperation with the international truce is not really linked to the quality of the game: there have been good matches this weekend, and the club competitions also inflict "purges".

In the first place, this hostility is due to a question of quantity, and expresses a state of want. The football lover, used to a continuous stream of matches that spares no day of the week, is suddenly weaned. The desire for football is no longer born of waiting and scarcity, it has become an assured need by infusion.

Devaluation of selections

He enters another frustration: a requirement of unfulfilled entertainment, that is to provide the football-show. The football consumer claims his due, he wants for his money – the one that foot-biz punctured. Dull meetings, counter-performances, narrow victories are no longer supported.

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Football can no longer be the sport of the 0-0, which makes a hundred disappointments pay its moments of grace, it is that of immediate satisfaction. Yet no one would think of pulling out of a needy Manchester United-Arsenal (1-1, 1st October) unpleasant generalities about the Premier League.

Breeders to cope with reduced preparation time, international more or less motivated, exhausted workforce …

The detestation of the truce is actually the most explicit symptom of the prestige loss of football selection and club football hegemony. It is much less objective quality than the current status of both, the results of a large and old company of devaluation of selections.

Since the early 2000s, the lobbying of the most powerful clubs has achieved concrete victories. FIFA and UEFA have agreed to reduce pick-up times for international selections and allowances – another mechanism to enrich the richest.

Premium show

The European Gotha clubs also won a symbolic victory. Today we find their language elements: injuries are the fault of national teams, not clubs that take players on a summer tour on another continent before aligning them more than fifty times in the season.

Sergio Busquets and the Rakuten Cup trophy in Kobe, Japan on July 27, 2019.
Sergio Busquets and the Rakuten Cup trophy in Kobe, Japan, July 27, 2019. Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP

Breeders have to cope with reduced preparation times, more or less available and motivated internationals, diplomatic packages negotiated with the clubs, and exhausted numbers at the final stages. The selections have obviously lost in quality and importance.

It was the goal. "Elite" football encourages the symbolic relegation of national teams, "inferior" competitions and second-tier clubs. The Hollywood show of the Premier League, the Champions League and the national "classicos" imposes its standards.

Also, to hate the international truce is to serve the agenda of rich clubs. They are not only trying to make the football selection, but also to establish themselves as the only premium show worthy of satisfying the consumers they have trained themselves. And they succeed.

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