Rangers' potential 29 games before World Cup is too much for players
Rangers’ entire season is coming down to their chance of winning the Europa League after they failed to close in on Celtic at the weekend.
The Light Blues are well-positioned to succeed having lost just 1-0 in Germany against RB Leipzig on Thursday with their home leg at Ibrox to come this week for a place in the final.
They almost have to win this competition to avoid what could be a horrible start to their 2022/23 season should they not lift the trophy in Seville and finish second in the Scottish Premiership.
As explored by the Daily Record, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side could play a huge 29 games before the season break in November for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
17 of those matches will come in the Scottish Premiership with an earlier start date set to accommodate the time off but up to ten of those would be in European qualifiers.
The Gers would begin in the Champions League path but would need to win three qualifiers to make it to the group stage.
Such is the uniqueness of the UEFA competitions, even if they lose their second qualifier, having won the first (both over two legs) they would then drop into the Europa League again.
One more qualifier there and they could either win it and head to the group stages or lose it and end up in the Conference League group stages, meaning that they will play 10 games regardless.
Add in two Premier Sports Cup fixtures as well and that is a simply inhumane number of games for any one team to play in such a short space of time with even less time off after the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
It could be a similar problem for Hearts too but they won’t have many players who will also then head to Qatar and be expected to play every three or four days in the searing desert heat.
This level of fixture congestion is bordering on dangerous and maybe the SPFL should be looking to reduce the number of matches being played so early in the season.