England Football Schedule

Roy HodgsonEngland coach Roy Hodgson will take his team to Switzerland for their first qualifier. Photograph: Olivier Anrigo/Reuters

Roy Hodgson has questioned Michel Platini's argument that Uefa's revamped "week of football" scheduling in qualification for Euro 2016 will thrust the international game back into the limelight, and instead insisted the new timetable actually benefits only the clubs.

Uefa, which has increased the number of teams at the finals in France from 16 to 24, has also introduced new six-day international windows running from Thursday to Tuesday, with teams asked to play three double-headers over the qualification campaign. That will involve games taking place every night in those periods and Platini, the Uefa president, has admitted the new programme was "a political decision" aimed at thrusting the international game back into the limelight given the strength of the Champions League and domestic competitions.

Yet Hodgson – whose England side have been drawn in Group E with Switzerland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and San Marino – believes the system will actually deprive national managers of even more time to work with their players. "It won't affect the clubs, but it will affect the national teams, " he said. "When I was manager of Switzerland [from 1992-95] we had two weeks in every window. Then it went down to 10 days, then eight or nine, and now it could be six days if you're playing Thursday and Sunday. I don't understand how that can be championed as something to help the national teams: if you want to help the national teams, have more time for preparation.

"As far as the clubs are concerned, they'll be rubbing their hands together because they will get the players back quicker. For the national teams, though, you don't have to be a statistician or a rocket scientist to work out it's getting harder for us. We don't really get the time with the players we would like. We want to work with them and do our bit of tactical work as well, not just the club sides."


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