The prospect of summer football in Scotland has long been a talking point north of the border. With cold weather comes poor pitches, both in stadiums and on the training ground, and with that comes game cancellations and the inability to coach players young and old.
Brendan Rodgers is a relatively new arrival in the Scottish game but he’s wasted no time in getting involved in the debate. He has stated (as quoted by the Daily Record) that a switch in the schedule would be a massive win for not just Celtic, but the entire Scottish game.
He said: “There is an argument to say a season which starts in February to November would work and there would be benefits for clubs. There would be financial benefits and benefits for coaching in the warmer months.”
Not only does he think it would bring a benefit to coaching, but to Scottish clubs’ chances in Europe too. That’s badly needed given that outside of Celtic, a Scottish team hasn’t reached the group stages of the Europa League or Champions League since 2011.
Rodgers also said: “Then when you are midway through your season you get the qualifiers. Astana had played 22 games by the time we faced them. We had only played once.”
Rodgers is correct, a fair number of the leagues involved in the earlier stages of UEFA competition already compete on a summer schedule, potentially giving them a boost over Scottish clubs.
Countries such as Sweden, Norway and even the Republic of Ireland work with some sort of summer football format. It can be effective, as proven by Dundalk’s recent success in reaching the Europa League groups.
Elsewhere countries like the USA and Japan operate successful summer schedules.