How did the Czech Republic’s neighbours behave? In Germany, only one Bundesliga match was postponed, with Bayern and Union Berlin reacting on social media and publicizing their plans instead of worrying.
In neighboring Slovakia, and also in Austria, everything went according to the original schedule. Only Poland had problems. In northern Denmark, for example, footballers did what they had to do, despite the weather conditions.
In the main Czech competition, only Olomouc and Pardubice were played, where the organizers deserve to be praised. In the other stadiums, either no play was played or (in the case of the Moravian derby between Olomouc and Slovácko) both coaches agreed that it was not worth starting the game.
Sigma was furious that the pitch was destroyed after the game and that one of the players was injured during the warm-up. In other stadiums, the delegates did not allow the players to enter the field. But some teams have traveled hundreds of kilometers across the Czech Republic.
The Karviná went to Nymburk, where he spent the night, but did not go to Mlada Boleslav the next day. Slavia traveled to Zlín but returned without results. Plzeň headed to Ostrava, straight from Albania, where they were playing a Europa League match, and after a stop in Silesia, where they trained twice, they returned home. The situation caused a great deal of unease between Slavia coach Jaroslav Tvrdík and the Football League.
Among fans, there are rumors that the championship should not be played in December. And that we should make better use of the good weather in July when the conditions for football are almost ideal. Statistician Roman Jašek points out that since time immemorial, the Czech Republic championship has been played much more often in December than in July.
“Currently, all public opinion says that football should not be played in December. Do you know how many league games were played in December? There were 627 and only 309 in July,” Jašek points out, referring to long-established rules.
Why not play in spring and autumn?
In Northern Europe, people try to avoid complications by practicing the spring and autumn system. Norway, Sweden, and Finland announce their champions in October or November. The Swedish Allsvenskan is played almost every week in July and the break lasts only three weeks in June. The old Czechoslovak League also remembers years when it started in March and ended in November, but the last time was in 1956.
“In my nine years in Sweden, I have never been in a situation like the one the Czech league is experiencing. There has never been such a calamity, not even in the winter when we were preparing. But of course, that’s because the Allsvenskan starts in April and ends in mid-November. Even in Sundsvall, which is the highest, there has never been so much snow that we couldn’t prepare and clear. But they also had artificial turf,” former goalkeeper Dušan Melichárek, who spent most of his career in Malmö, told Flashscore.
Like the Czech Republic, the Danish league has also had to deal with bad weather in recent days. Again, the situation was not as desperate as in the Czech Republic.
“Most of Jutland is covered in snow, but there were no problems over the weekend. In fact, there have been no problems because of time for a long time. Due to climate change, it doesn’t snow as much anymore and this season is an exception,” says Svend Frandsen, editor of Flashscore in Denmark.
The Danes play with an autumn-spring system.
“There’s never been a discussion in history about whether it should be any different. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Danes are closer to England than Sweden and Norway in terms of football, so the Nordic approach is not of any interest to the football movement at all,” he adds. When snow falls in Denmark, the organizers are always ready.
All clubs have heated pitches and are constantly improving the treatment of the pitches.
“There is only one team in the Danish league that has artificial turf (FC Nordsjälland) and it is heavily criticized because the fans do not consider it regular. Sparta fans must have seen the problems with the pitch in Copenhagen when their team played in the Champions League qualifying round, but it wasn’t because of the weather, but because of the many concerts held at the Parken stadium,” explains Svend Frandsen.
In Poland, there were no games
There were also problems in Poland, as well as in the Czech league. Not only the Ekstraklasa but also the smaller competitions continued in December. In the first division, one game was postponed and another did not take place because it started snowing during the game. In the second division, four games did not take place, and in the third division six games.
“There were no games where the conditions were really bad, but, for example, Lech Poznan openly called for their game at Korona Kielce to be played at another time. However, the three points won ended up outweighing the other criticisms,” says Michal Karas, Flashscore’s editor in Poland, about the events in the country’s northern neighbors.
The country, which hosted Euro 2012, has no problems with the quality of the playing fields.
“There are still two rounds to play in December and there is no indication that this will not happen. There has never been talk in Poland of switching to a spring-autumn system because of the weather,” said Michal Karas, adding that the last game of the championship is scheduled for December 20.
Football clubs across Europe know it’s a matter of attitude, attitude, and communication, but sometimes, even with the best of wills against the whims of the time, you don’t stand a chance.
“I don’t think anyone in the Czech Republic, apart from Sparta, Slavia, and Plzen, can keep the pitch warm 24 hours a day, so that the snow doesn’t even cling to it,” says Dušan Melichárek.
“All over the world, a lot of importance is placed on turf specialists. In England, for example, these people are almost as important as the club managers, their word carries a lot of weight, and the quality of the grass is very important,” says Sven Frandsen.
Again, the fields are heavily worked during the winter. In the Czech Republic, the championship continues this Wednesday, with two play-offs in Jablonec and Mladá Boleslav. Even if it doesn’t snow as much, the ice won’t disappear and it remains to be seen if the games will take place.