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The UEFA Nations League faces a new battle after Sky Sports, Kevin De Bruyne and Jurgen Klopp batted

Nations League matches this month will not be shown on Sky Sports, while the competition, which had breathed new life into European international football, drew heavy criticism from Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, among others

Nations League faces collapse as support dwindles
Nations League faces collapse as support dwindles

Think back to November 2010.

Another exciting Premier League season was in full swing as Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea aimed to beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United for the title. The fans loved the action but it was cut short for a friendly between England and France at Wembley. Unsurprisingly, even the players couldn’t get excited about the game.

“It’s not the best time for this game because Arsenal are in top form and we have some big games ahead of us in the Premier League and Champions League,” said Gunners midfielder Sami Nasri. “But I would never turn down a big game at Wembley.” That was one of the friendlier remarks.

Friendlies were frustrating for everyone involved. Something had to be done to give these games meaning… and in 2014 UEFA hatched a plan. They announced the Nations League, a new biannual competition aimed at filling gaps in the international calendar.

UEFA insisted the Nations League would “create more meaningful and competitive matches” and add structure to the international calendar. But just three years after Portugal was crowned the first winner and has no doubt aided the development of a number of so-called ‘smaller’ nations, the competition’s growth could stall.

Sky Sports, the UK’s most popular subscription-based broadcaster, will no longer show Nations League matches after doing an excellent job of entertaining people living in Britain for up to six nights during international breaks. Sky lost the rights. But how much did they want to keep her? Obviously not bad enough.

The likes of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville will not be covering the Nations League for Sky Sports this month
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All Nations League matches – with the exception of England matches, which are broadcast on Channel 4 – are now shown on Premier Sports, a small sports channel in the UK compared to Sky Sports and BT Sport.

“We are thrilled to win this fantastic package of UEFA national team matches,” Premier Sports CEO Richard Sweeney said in a press release. However, his excitement is unlikely to convince many UK fans to pay another £129 annual subscription to watch it.

The diversification of football broadcasting rights is a major problem in the UK. Fans need Sky Sports, BT Sport, Premier Sports, Amazon Prime and DAZN if they want to catch all the action… and we’re supposed to be enduring a livelihood crisis!

Although the England games will be more viewable on terrestrial television thanks to the reintroduction of Channel 4, the games in Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could easily be forgotten… not to mention those involving countries like Germany, Spain and France involved.

The Nations League TV deal with Premier Sports is worrying, but the competition’s woes don’t stop there. Kevin De Bruyne – arguably the best footballer in the world right now apart from Karim Benzema – has scathingly spoken out about the unimportance of the competition.

“For me, the Nations League is unimportant,” he told reporters on Monday. “We have to play these games, but it’s kind of a practice campaign. Everyone’s had a very tough season. Once we’re on the field, we do what we have to do.”

“Then I want to win. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about it. We have nothing to say about it. As players, we can talk about vacation or rest, but we don’t have a say. We follow what we have to do and that’s it, we have a little more than three weeks vacation every twelve months.

“The outsiders don’t understand how a player feels after a season. It doesn’t have to be, in the end nothing will change anyway. There is no point in saying anything about it either. It’s not going to change anyway.” He’s not selling that Premier Sports subscription right now, is he?

Kevin De Bruyne is not worried about the Nations League after a long season at Manchester City
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It’s easy to see why players aren’t making such a fuss about the Nations League as Manchester City and Liverpool end grueling 55- and 60-plus game campaigns.

Gareth Southgate has had to drop Jordan Henderson from his squad for England’s four (yes four) Nations League games this month. The midfielder has just finished a 57-game season at Liverpool. “He’s played a lot of football this season,” Southgate said. It’s just too much football for the pros… and their managers know it too.

“I still think so [the Nations League] is one of the most ridiculous ideas in the world of football because now we end a season where players have played more than 70 games loosely – club games 63 or 64, plus internationals – and then go straight to 75, which is pretty crazy, ‘ said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in May.

“We continue with the Nations League games because we have to play them [when] There’s no tournament, who cares, we play four, five or six games with the national teams.”

Jurgen Klopp has questioned the existence of the Nations League
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It is obvious that UEFA is under pressure for the number of games they are forcing players to play – remember there will soon be more games in the Champions League too – particularly from managers who are in the position to speak up. And it’s unclear if FIFA will support them in the future; There has been talk of sport’s global governing body creating its own competition as they and UEFA battle to be at the top of world football.

Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of global football development, also wants to make the World Cup a biennial tournament – which will be difficult to achieve with the existing Nations League – and has called for the competition in question to be abolished.

“We need to abolish the Nations League and find clearer events that everyone understands,” Wenger said in 2020. “If you ask people on the street what the Nations League is, you won’t find many who can explain it. We. ” have to have as few events as possible.”

The Nations League has given more meaning to the international calendar and there are fewer meaningless games, despite De Bruyne’s comments. However, the solution to UEFA’s friendlies’ problems was to play fewer friendlies rather than intensify the schedule.

At the moment, it’s hard to imagine the Nations League existing in 2032. The competition got off to a promising start, but resistance is growing and – with fewer fans tuning in this month – support is likely to wane. And from there? Well, ultimately, it’s impossible to predict what’s coming next.

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