Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall says that WSL clubs have to come to an agreement to provide greater assistance to teams in European competition. The Gunners are the only British side to win the Champions League, hoisting the trophy in 2007. Since then, Chelsea qualified for last season’s final but nobody else from England has come close.
Eidevall thinks the intense style of English football and the calendar are partly responsible and he believes a consensus should be arrived at on the latter. “I think it might be a loading issue and something that we need to incorporate between the clubs in the WSL. No English club has won the UWCL since 2007. We know the games we play in the FA Cup, the WSL, the Conti Cup will be intense games. It’s a physical league and a physical style of football in England.
“How can we make sure the teams who play in Europe are as rested and recovered when they are playing in Europe? We are not only representing ourselves but England with the association coefficient which will – every five years – determine how many spots they will have in the UWCL and what ranking we have, how easy it will be for us to get in the tournament etc. So we are basically playing for all English clubs.
“It is in everyone’s interest that we get good results in Europe this year then we need to think from a planning perspective, when do we play our games on a weekend? Originally we were meant to play our game against Aston Villa on Sunday night then Barcelona on Tuesday which would have been almost an impossible turnover and required a lot of effort from the club and a lot of people to get that game turned around to the Saturday.
“It would be interesting to see if clubs can come together and try to talk. If you look at the schedule now, after Hoffenheim on Thursday, there is a free weekend in the WSL before the international break. For me, it would have made every sense to move the Villa game out of this congested period and onto that weekend. It would have given us so much better possibilities to play a UWCL game with the strongest squad possible.
“It’s a league decision and it needs to be made by the clubs. We need to cooperate. This year it’s Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City playing in Europe, next year it might be other clubs. We need to take long-term decisions so we’re always supporting clubs playing in Europe. When you always talk about game-to-game decisions, everyone will be close to themselves and their own business and everything will go against teams playing in Europe. That’s why we need to look at long term, talk about principles of English clubs playing in Europe and make sure they get the best possible conditions to perform so we can beat Spanish teams.”