In Depth

German summer football plan could spell the end for cricket

As the county cricket season gets underway, could there be a real threat lurking in the long grass?

THE ENGLISH domestic cricket season began in earnest this week and was accompanied, as ever, by the ritual lament of fans and commentators fearing for the future of the county game.

But amid concerns about bad weather, the lack of TV coverage, a Lions rugby tour and too much international cricket, few people appear to have noticed a report from Germany that really could spell the end for the traditional English summer sport.

According to Die Welt, moves are afoot in Germany to rearrange the sporting calendar and run the football season from spring to autumn, with a break in the winter. The paper calls it a "revolution" and says the idea has been raised in order to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which is likely to be held in the winter.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is just one of those in favour of the idea. He said: "From May to August is when we do not play football in Germany, although that is when we get the best weather. Perhaps we should take a break when the weather is bad. It could be an advantage."

The former German striker is also chairman of the European Club Association which represents 207 clubs in 53 countries.

Scandinavian countries already play through the summer, and the League of Ireland became a summer league a decade ago. If a major footballing country like Germany tried to force through a switch, then Uefa would be forced to look at the structure of competitions like the Champions League - and other associations might decide to follow suit.

Writing in the Evening Standard this week, Amol Rajan said: "County matches, being played over four days, are incompatible with modern work patterns, so continued decline is inevitable. If something keeps declining, eventually it will die."

That day will come sooner rather than later if the Germans have their way. Premier League football over the English summer would surely obliterate cricket.

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