According to a sports economist, in the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is a “moment of sharing and solidarity”.

Since 1871, 26 December – known as Boxing Day – has been a public holiday in England. It is a day of sales, but also of football, as the Premier League does not compromise and plays throughout the holiday season. “This is a moment of sharing and solidarity”, described on Franceinfo Vincent Choudel. The Sports Economist states that retaining these matches avoids “real” economic problems and allows the Premier League to be “the only championship seen between Christmas and New Year’s Day”, especially because the championship The Frenchmen observe a ceasefire.

Franceinfo: Why is this tradition of Boxing Day important in Britain?

Vincent Chowdel: This is a moment of sharing and togetherness. This is the time when, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, English football takes advantage of this period of truce when people are available and they go to matches for two to three days. It is a rite of passage, a meeting that has now been established and it is also a moment that the league has been able to sell to broadcasters. In this case, this year it was Amazon that bought the bundle of matches and of course, in the event of a postponement, it would have created an economic problem for the league. But above all, I believe it is a reflection of the weight of football in British society. In France, we did not hesitate to cancel the Championships due to COVID-19. Such a decision was avoided in England by Boris Johnson, who already has popularity problems.

What if the matches had been postponed due to COVID-19?

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The broadcaster has planned this period. Had the matches not happened, we would have had to find a plan B. We see this in France, for example, with the Boxing Day of rugby. On Sunday evening, we should have had the Stade Toulouse – Stade Français and the Canal + need to find a plan B.

Conversely, will the maintenance of these matches, along with other matches that have been postponed to an extremely tight schedule, pose a problem for the Premier League championship?

Yes absolutely. But we saw it in 2020, championships and leagues have been organized. But here, we are still in a very limited calendar as it is a special year of the World Cup. This competition takes place in November and December. So we have to finish the championship at all costs before the end of May to start again in the summer and be able to play the first part of the championship before this World Cup. This is why postponed matches create real problems. Finally, the African Cup of Nations, starting on January 9, features players such as Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah, who must be absent in the hope that they can return without quarantine, for example.

Is this Boxing Day in the United Kingdom also a way to highlight English football at the international level? Since in France, for example, as in this ceasefire, can football supporters be tempted by English football?

Of course, therefore too it is a success. The success of the Premier League is largely due to its internationalization. This is natural first of all with all countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. Then, in effect it is the typical Boxing Day window, which only allows it to be seen between Christmas and New Year’s. It is a subject that makes a difference, for example, the Bundesliga, which has had a long winter break. This is primarily an opportunity to watch English football. Bundesliga did. This was the first championship to resume despite Covid-19. There was only the Bundesliga to watch and this allowed the German league to overexpose. So this media window has a strategic dimension.

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