Monday 04 October 2021, 13:00

Suazo: Players and national teams can benefit from calendar restructure

  • David Suazo featured at 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa

  • Honduran says fewer international windows will raise global standards

  • Players being consulted as part of detailed review of football’s schedule

In 1999, David Suazo left club football in Honduras to embark on a career in Europe. The striker arrived in Sardinia for a successful spell with Cagliari just as he was breaking through to the national team, and he now uses over a decade of international experience as a reference point when saying that football would benefit from fewer, dedicated windows for players to serve their country. Reducing intercontinental travels for players to minimise injuries and improve the global standard of football is among many points being reviewed for football’s match calendar from 2024, with opinions being canvassed from a broad cross-section of football stakeholders as part of a process for men’s football being led by FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, Arsène Wenger. In parallel, Jill Ellis is fronting up a review for the women’s game, where the existing calendar is only in place until 2023.

“I’m speaking about my own experience,” says former striker Suazo, who also featured for FC Internazionale Milano, SL Benfica, Genoa and Catania. “As a Honduran, every time I had to travel from here to Europe, I had to do a round trip in three or four days and obviously, they wouldn’t be the best conditions in which to play a match. It would help to facilitate matches, travelling and our teams to have continuity: to play for a month and then you have the whole league [season] ahead of you.

David Suazo playing for Honduras against Switzerland at the 2010 FIFA World Cup

“When you play for your national team, these are moments that the whole country is waiting for. Playing important matches is more beneficial for you where you have to adopt another philosophy and give something extra. [Calendar changes] would help the so-called small national teams to get resources in order to play and grow even more, and also be able to put on a show at the [FIFA] World Cup and avoid those matches where we all know how they will end.”

Suazo featured in South Africa in 2010 as Honduras made the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 28 years. He welcomes the chance for the players to give their input to the shaping of football’s future which he views as a further chance to represent his country.

“It’s an important process because these are situations and dynamics that players understand,” adds Suazo. “You realise that the answers you give are for your own benefit and, obviously, for the benefit of your country.”