This week, Scott revives a long-standing complaint about the lack of an injury protocol in the Premier League. Click below to hear it now on Soundcloud, or read the full transcription further down.
I'm Scott Wiebe, and today, I am going to take a shot at the Premier League and its lack of an injury protocol. At this time last year, this very podcast released an episode on this problem and used the National Football League in the United States as a template for how the Premier League could implement one of their own. The episode was so good that we released it again early this past summer.
The National Football League is an eight figure per year entity. Despite its flaws (since this is not an NFL podcast, I won't go into them here), the league is an enormous financial success. Ask anyone what the reasons for that are and somewhere near the top, they will say the presence of fantasy American football.
To aid fans and fantasy American football players, the NFL has a solid injury protocol. As we discussed on this podcast one year earlier, a clear and enforced injury protocol is one of the things the NFL itself cites as key to its success.
Why am I going into all of this? Because it's late 2018 on the calendar, and this problem is only getting worse for the Premier League.
For the last two gameweeks, I have had to follow Wilfried Zaha's brother's Twitter feed to find out about Wilf's abductor muscle. This past weekend, for a few hours anyway, the best place to find out anything about Roberto Firmino's eye was from his wife's Instagram account.
Not to make this too personal, but on Friday afternoon, the Bournemouth Daily Echo reported that Ryan Fraser was a doubt to play on Saturday. Guess who I put at the end of my bench? Of course. Ryan Fraser. Guess who scored two goals and assisted a third. Ryan effing Fraser.
The lack of an injury protocol does not add to the thrill of FPL. When a player is a shock omission from the roster due to an injury that is acknowledged too late, I don't just snap my fingers and say "Well, gosh darn, I guess I just won't play well this week." No! I want to win! That's why I do this! And I can't win -- without luck -- if I don't have all the information I need.
To be clear, the players are not at fault here. They should not be responsible for disclosing their own injuries to the public. Managers are not at fault here. If no one is making them disclose injuries, then it would actually be better strategy for them NOT to say anything so that their opponents have to prepare for any possibility. As it stands, we have to trust that those guys are going to tell the truth on their own. Think through all the faces of the managers you can think of right now. The only one I trust to tell me the truth -- mostly because of his babyface -- is Eddie Howe. The others? Liars. All of them. Wait, Ryan Fraser plays for Eddie Howe, doesn't he? Like I said, liars, all of them.
This problem rests squarely on the executives who run the Premier League. There are ways to make an injury protocol happen. This needs to be researched and enforced.
You know, whenever I want to learn something new or become better at something I'm already doing, I look to those who are the best at that thing. They are my guide. I want to do what they do to join them.
The NFL needs an injury protocol. Every other sports league -- including the Premier League -- needs one, too. This FPL thing doesn't need injury drama. Pep Guardiola's rotation of healthy Manchester City players makes FPL hard enough.