The Premier League has been shut down for more than six weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has, according to Government figures, claimed the lives of more than 20,000 Britons over the past two months and made the prospect of playing top-level football matches unthinkable.
With the possible threat of millions of pounds of default payments due because of lost broadcast revenue, the top-flight clubs have committed to finishing the campaign rather than voiding it entirely but there is still little scope at the moment for holding matches, even without fans in attendance given the testing requirements of players and the estimated two to three hundred people needed on site at each game.
According to The Mirror, however, the League has pencilled in the middle of June as a possible date on which matches might resume, with the season running into August if necessary so as to clear the backlog of 90-odd fixtures.
Uefa are pressuring each member leagues to furnish them with plans for either completing or calling the current season by 23rd May.
Clubs will meet again on Friday to discuss "Project Restart" further. In the meantime, France has effectively called an end to the season after their government ruled out any matches, even behind closed doors, being held until September.
Reader Comments (50)
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1 Posted 29/04/2020 at 04:53:08
Champions – well, everyone knows you need to play 38 games to really win it...
2 Posted 29/04/2020 at 05:28:36
Football rules could be modified to meet Government restrictions and any player moving within "social distancing" would be deemed to have committed a foul and anyone found sneezing or gobbing on the pitch would immediately be "self-isolated" or as it was known, sent off. The ball would need replacing and disinfecting every time it went into touch, given the circumstances perhaps we should say 'out of play'.
Similarly, Ball-boys would need hosing down after every retrieval while VAR could replace on-pitch officials and substitutes could be scattered among the empty stands waiting for their number to be called on the public address system. Of course, it goes without saying that all keepers must wear gloves, caps and trendy trackie bottoms.
You can fool some of the Bank Managers some of the time
3 Posted 29/04/2020 at 07:54:53
Alan @2, if they were sent off for gobbing, there would be no-one left on the pitch after 15 minutes. :-)
4 Posted 29/04/2020 at 08:49:08
5 Posted 29/04/2020 at 09:11:44
Anyway, the noises this morning seem to be moving towards cancellation. If you're to believe the various media, the doctors are against it, the players are against it, the fans are against it, the world football authorities are against it... In fact the only people in favour of playing on seem to be the RS, the Leeds fans, the Premier League and the TV companies. There has been some speculation that the government want it to happen, but I would imagine they'll soon deny that in the face of so much negativity.
Covid-19 is a Europe-wide problem. Germany was talking about resuming their season but, with their RO infection rate rising to 1 again within a week of loosening their lockdown, that may well be reversed. France of course has scrapped the top two leagues.
If Germany, which has been an outlier among major European economies so far in terms of its death rate, is thinking twice about resuming, then I can't see any way that Spain, Italy or the UK will resume professional football any time soon, whatever they might be saying at the moment.
6 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:21:13
I don't know what we will talk about if or when the curtain finally falls on this season but I know this: as it gets nearer to a point of no return (and every day it does), the gnashing and squabbling will get louder and louder.
So far, everyone is being very coy about their motives and intentions: the owners, the managers, the players... When you consider the fallout, their silence is deafening, I think. Jurgen Klopp, the fuckin people's poet, has been surprisingly quiet, hasn't he?
We are left listening to a few biased RS like Carragher hiding behind big ideas like "integrity" – not even understanding the meaning of the word. This diplomatic silence will change soon, stand back and enjoy the fireworks...
Or, more like stand back and watch fat pigs mud wrestling in shite.
7 Posted 29/04/2020 at 10:23:09
Apart from the obvious, there are very few issues which look to be home and hosed. A couple of teams are cut adrift at the bottom of their divisions. The likes of Coventry look nailed on for a promotion. But this won't happen.
Its a tough call. But seriously? The season finishes at the end of August? When does the next one start?
We are already facing massive disruption due to the corrupt Qatar world cup. I'm sad enough to have an inner grin that our neighbours haven't actually clinched the title. I'm also realistic enough to know that they are the champions in all but name and can have their name engraved on the trophy.
But FFS, people are dying. If it can't be finished by the end of June, having a closed shop tournament style event (A game every 2-3 days and the TV companies get what they are given) then it has to be written off. This applies right down the pyramid.
We can then look to what we can do when this virus is under control. The chairmen will moan about loss income. That is surely less of a worry than the loss of life. I can only see Sky coming out of any negotiations with egg all over their face as they moan about loss of income and that is not a bad thing.
Its time for the FA to wake up and smell the coffee. The good of the many has to be more important than the ego of the few.
Stay safe guys.
8 Posted 29/04/2020 at 15:53:52
Corners will no longer be awarded to stop social distancing and crosses above waist level outlawed, to stop two players trying to jump in the air together.
You have to remain 2 metres from any player and no free kicks will be allowed to be defended by forming a wall.
There will be an additional 10 technical areas for the subs to stand in, no hugging a player will be allowed on scoring a goal, kissing is a no-no.
Each few players will have to wait their turn in entering the dressing room, no sitting next to each other on the team bus, the magic sponge will be replaced by the magic gloves and a face mask.
This is the farce that playing behind closed doors will bring, yet those bigwigs still think it can be achieved.
9 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:06:27
10 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:27:22
11 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:40:34
12 Posted 29/04/2020 at 16:46:10
14 Posted 29/04/2020 at 19:26:31
15 Posted 29/04/2020 at 20:11:53
16 Posted 29/04/2020 at 23:55:16
I honestly think that, if a genuine vote was taken by clubs and fans, that the season would be cancelled. There are other teams that will suffer because of cancellation. Tough on them but these are very unusual circumstances and the unexpected has happened.
Thousands of people have lost their lives and football has had to take a back seat. Rightfully so. Trying to finish a season in June is ridiculous and even more idiotic if there are no fans to watch the game.
My season is over, no matter what the FA decide. I can only look forward to a new season when, and if, the situation has changed. We may be lucky enough to even have a new season, so why try to squeeze in the old one???
17 Posted 30/04/2020 at 15:50:23
Can't see that happening.
My guess is that, once Sky and the other networks decide what they're willing to write off as a loss, the rest of the financial dominoes can be set in place to fall and the season cancelled.
18 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:33:23
19 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:42:35
The government have had their 'do something' distraction moment. Now we will watch them all slowly come to the conclusion that this is a non-starter. And the lawyers will start on the body that made the right decision.
Every minute football isn't speaking out against this, it is further diminishing its reputation.
20 Posted 30/04/2020 at 19:55:13
21 Posted 30/04/2020 at 20:25:37
People across the world are infected and dying in unprecedented numbers in modern times. There's no cure on the horizon, the top European Leagues have set the right example and declared their leagues null and void.
The government needs to learn soon, get some gonads, and sort this situation out, once and for all.
At the same time, charge the Premier League with attempted breach of government Coronavirus guidelines. Also, fine the RS, for defying government guidelines in an effort to try and beat Atletico, but failing, and also helping infect Liverpool City Centre and around.
These people in the Premier League don't give two shits about supporters in good times, and it shows how disconnected they are from real life and reality. It's pitiful that they are being allowed to make their own rules in breach of government guidelines.
It could spell the end of the game as we know it, and why play with a deadly danger? No risk, no play, stay indoors until the status quo, of the world improves dramatically.
Reconvene in September 2020, and reassess the situation then. Why should the Premier League be an exception to the rest of Uefa?
Rant over, but all stay safe and well.
22 Posted 30/04/2020 at 22:17:36
It's not worth debating. It'll be a huge majority against one lone, bastard voice from America, and it'll degrade into a feeding frenzy.
If anyone out there is brave enough to admit the season should complete, I dare you to come out of your dark corner.
Important note – I'm a father of 5, I'm college educated, I've never been in jail, I do care about the health and safety of society, I do care about the welfare of people, I'm generally friendly, I'm a God-fearing man... My argument for this course of action merits discussion but I probably won't get into it because I don't appreciate this undercurrent of dissenting views equating to being uncaring or self-absorbed. It's certifiably not a "stupid" stance to take; it just differs from your view, and I realize the overwhelming number of people will disagree with me. Cheers and God bless.
24 Posted 30/04/2020 at 23:32:22
Okay, yes, it might help take people's minds off the horrific death toll that has just kept on rising and will also help a lot of clubs from suffering serious “financial hardship”. That might not be a bad thing if some of this money was filtered down to the lower-league clubs because it might just even encourage a much-needed shift in humanitarian levels. As-if!
Fair enough about it not being uncaring or self-absorbing if they resume playing in front of empty stadiums because life always has to go on, but at such a time I'm not so sure, mate. It wouldn't surprise me to see football lose a lot of support, from both the old-timers and the Johnny-come-latelies as well, if it does resume playing too soon.
My own view is that this virus hasn't even begun to go away yet; it's claiming lives left right and centre, and do you know how many people are allowed to attend a funeral, mate? Not even a full fucking team.
25 Posted 30/04/2020 at 23:51:48
I just cannot understand why you would want the 2019-20 season to be completed infront of zero fans, total lack of interest and in the middle of summer? The season has gone!
Through nobody's fault, Evertonians have the chance to forget about a miserable season and move into a brand new venture. The fact that Liverpool were 25 points ahead will never be enough to convince any Evertonian that they won the league.
Karma has arrived in the form of a dreadful virus. The World getting healed is far more important than finishing any season. It is in the past. It has gone. Yes... gone!!! Hopefully for ever.
26 Posted 01/05/2020 at 02:00:18
I think, on a societal level, we have to decide what level of risk we are prepared to live with. It's difficult to make an informed decision with different governments using varying metrics to track it. So, if we assume the worst-case scenarios, are we okay with that risk?
If we are, the same rules should apply to everything – not just football. If we are not, then football and everything else can deal with the consequences.
I'm not going to offer an opinion either way because, realizing my voice counts for nought anyway, I will live with whatever y'all decide.
27 Posted 01/05/2020 at 06:50:25
Jamie Crowley, like myself, thinks that the season should be concluded before a new season begins. This is not suggesting that it is done this summer, or that it is done in unsafe circumstances. Nor by doing this is it disrespectful to frontline workers or those who have died or are in hospital with this virus.
Put simply, no football should be played until players and fans can do so safely. When that time comes, instead of forgetting all of the three-quarters done season, that season should be brought to its rightful conclusion.
It's all very well stating that you are not interested in last season; many won't be, but others will be. In my line of work, I make things to order, specific to client's homes. If I am contracted to produce a piece of work before the lockdown, I continue to make it and then wait until lockdown is over before delivering and installing it. I don't tell them, "Sorry folks, but you can keep the first half of the job, but as it's been a few months... I have decided that, although it is safe for me to resume work on this, I have decided that I don't want to do the last section, because I would rather start a new project from scratch".
The Premier League have TV obligations, the clubs have their own contracts to honour. The whole basis of promotion, relegation and Euro football have to be awarded. This is done by final placings.
For the sake of nine games to tie-up all the loose ends, I can't see the problem.
28 Posted 01/05/2020 at 07:13:41
Sometime in the future, play will resume. A football match is a football match. Why would those matches have to be next season? Finish what was started.
The question is: when can it be finished? Which none of us know...
30 Posted 01/05/2020 at 08:27:15
I'm sure there are plenty of people who agree with you, it's important to have reasoned debate on here so keep posting your opinions and ignore the feeding frenzy. There are a good few rational posters on here, I'm sure.
31 Posted 01/05/2020 at 09:31:05
32 Posted 01/05/2020 at 09:32:48
It shows a couple of interesting changes. The transmission rate has increased from tracking at about 0.7 recently to only marginally below the threshold of 1.0, which seems to be the trigger point beyond which, no relaxation in lockdown will happen.
The other change is in the percentage of population infected, which has gone from about 4% to over 6%.
I think this can only be because of the sudden “spike” in deaths caused by the inclusion this week of deaths outside hospitals for the first time, particularly in care homes, taken from ONS stats. It shows why models are always wrong, and why they can only be one factor in decision making.
The next ONS stats are due on Tuesday morning for week ending 24 April, and could result in another spike, offset by falling hospital figures. It seems the care home deaths may still be increasing. It may explain the caution of the government about lockdown easing.
If that happens again, next Tuesday and it takes us over the transmission threshold of 1.0, the lockdown could extend for a further few weeks, largely unchanged.
As regards the return of Premier League football, their ambition seems to be returning mid-June, so it's still possible, I suppose. Expect more prevarication today, and maybe there is also a desire from the Government to provide ‘Bread and Circuses', as has been expressed on here.
So the debate could continue for a while yet.
33 Posted 01/05/2020 at 09:57:01
34 Posted 01/05/2020 at 09:58:15
35 Posted 01/05/2020 at 10:27:37
There is no need to complete the season. if we are honest, the title is Liverpool's, they are 25 points clear with 9 games to go. If they win the first game, or if City don't win, that's it: all over. Any hint of infections increasing after that and the media will immediately call for the season to be abandoned. So give them the title and be done with it.
As for promotion and relegation, top six play bottom six in every league, first against bottom and so on. the three winners of these games go into the higher league and the losers into the lower. These games to take place as soon as it is decided a new season can start.
If one member of Everton Football Club dies as a result of playing pointless games just to keep the money men happy, then I will sue them all for willful manslaughter... and I probably won't be alone.
36 Posted 01/05/2020 at 10:32:40
So why has no journalist (as far as I am aware) asked Sky if they would withdraw payment if fixtures are not completed? Once we ask that question and find out what Sky intends to do, the picture will be a lot clearer.
Should they come out and say they will not withdraw payment, then the decision is easy, the season is stopped. But I suspect that revenues for adverts on Sky have dropped and they will be putting pressure on clubs to fulfill the fixtures. Should that be the case, then the answer is a little more complex for clubs, as well as for Sky.
37 Posted 01/05/2020 at 10:33:31
Uncertain times for everyone, especially because, on either side of this lockdown, there only seems to be the devil or the deep blue sea. In my mind is a picture of the under-pressure England manager, Graham Taylor, telling the 4th official to give him a bloody metre!
38 Posted 01/05/2020 at 10:45:40
That's a possibility, of course, but unlikely given the way the model(s) work. Plus, the number of tests is far larger than the number of people tested.
One of the methods they use seems to be, they start with the deaths, and work back to symptoms appearing, to when the infections occurred. It would take a fairly large change in one the key factors to create a large change in the other key indicators, such as these.
But it certainly could well be one additional input. There may be others too.
Either way, it would be surprising to see any firm commitment to the return of the Premier League in the near future.
39 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:03:50
So, if you think your actions will meet that criterion, then go ahead... but let's hope somebody doesn't adopt a similar stance on halting any perceived threat to themselves.
40 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:37:42
For Sky, for whom I have little sympathy, it's also slightly more complex. Loss of advertising revenue, subscriptions (they're offering subscribers sports channel payment holidays etc).
But, as you say, if they accepted a loss due to force majeure circumstances, the issue would go away.
41 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:37:50
My idea for completing the season while maintaining a modicum of social distancing and not putting hundreds at risk is to complete the season using Subutteo.
It would only need the captain of each team and a referee and so put the least number of people at risk.
It could be also be televised and would be no more boring than the Spasky - Fischer World Chess Championship that was aired around the world in the seventies.
42 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:47:48
43 Posted 01/05/2020 at 11:57:32
44 Posted 01/05/2020 at 12:07:44
Most clubs' main expense is players' wages. So I guess that leaves a couple of options:
If the players are reluctant to play football until it is safe to do so – even in closed stadiums – they can either take a massive pay cut in order to help the survival of their employers, or they can take their chances in a bankrupt football environment later on.
Similarly, if we don't want games behind closed doors so the clubs can get the TV money, we have to accept that our club might not exist in its current form this time next year.
Personally, I don't attach any blame to the Premier League for trying anything in their power to protect their members' interests.
There's no good answer to this situation, and my personal preference is for no games to be played until the stadiums are re-opened to paying fans, but, in the long run, it could be suggested that this will be the event that disrupts the current professional football model, in an even bigger way than the birth of Sky coverage and the Premier League.
We may see a very different structure in a few years time. Sadly, that might include a European League for the "super-clubs" that have the backing and finances to survive, and an old fashioned, cheaper, Football League for the rest. In some ways, I'd rather Everton were one of "the rest", being the community club that we are. I might not say that when we're playing Salford at our groundshare in Birkenhead, though...
45 Posted 01/05/2020 at 12:17:16
It would then be up to the clubs as to how they manage their finances until the pandemic becomes less of a threat. The idea that a contact sport can be regarded as safe to play under the present conditions is ridiculous to any sane person.
46 Posted 01/05/2020 at 12:25:10
Hi Tony , I fully agree with your point of view when you suggest that the situation would be improved if some of the money that's awash in the Premier League was filtered to the struggling clubs. I'm sure that, if the clubs who think nothing of paying exorbitant transfer fees and salaries, were to assist less fortunate clubs, then football would benefit. I also believe that the 'haves' have no intention of helping the 'have-nots'.
I doubt that Danny Blanchflower would describe it as the "Beautiful Game''.
47 Posted 01/05/2020 at 13:39:18
I have read on ToffeeWeb and elsewhere that the season can be completed in the autumn, and then start the next season. But this is unworkable. Unless Uefa cancel next season's Champions League and Europa League, they will need to know who is taking part.
Promotion and relegation has an effect on players' contracts and the transfer market. Clubs need to retain and release players. This is why June 1st is the cut off for all competitions.
It is hard on the likes of Coventry, Leeds and some other clubs, who feel they should have silverware to celebrate. But even some high profile players are now publicly airing the view that they are not happy to play in the near future. And the simple moral vacuum of putting football and its money ahead of the welfare and wellbeing of the country should be enough in itself to bring the game's leaders to their senses.
The 2019-20 as a season, simply did not happen – that is the only workable solution. Anything else would not only raise issues of morality and irresponsibility but would cause knock-on effects across all competitions.
There is also the issue of other countries coming out of lockdown and restriction at different times. The FA could end up being out of step with their timelines. This would mean the possibility of more losses because our teams could be excluded from Europe. (Nobody ever wants that!)
I am aware that, for some people, football is bigger than life and death. There is a word for those people. But I won't use it. It is time for the FA and Uefa to grow a pair, be honest to themselves, and do the right thing. Hopefully, we will be back for the 2020-21 season.
48 Posted 01/05/2020 at 14:07:46
Glad to see you are well, sane and see the unimportance of season 2019-20. For every team that regrets an inconclusive finish to last season, just think back to any season where you had a lucky finish to escape relegation. Or in the case of Liverpool, the number of times that everything, Refs, VAR etc etc, went your way to help you win a trophy.
I must sound like an echo, or even "The Echo", but the season is over for most fans, whatever the final decision. Justice is not always favourable to every individual. What has happened with Covid-19, and what is still needed to alleviate the pain it has caused, far outways the need to finish any season.
50 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:15:15
If Liverpool are declared Champions or not, some will see them as legit, others will view it as illegitimate and any Premier League ruling won't change opinions.
On a practical note, we won't be able to keep playing if we are out of sync calendar-wise with other European countries Starting a new season while we are still playing the last
51 Posted 01/05/2020 at 15:45:52
If the government gives the go-ahead for them, then they are giving the green light for everyone to grab a football and 22 of us to kick it about.
I am in total agreement with Paul, the way these spoilt brat millionaires have and still do act during this crisis is disgraceful, and many many football fans will be put off the game because of it.
One of there reasons (or should I say excuses) is it would boost morale in the country, well I have got news for the egoistic brats. At this moment, the country does not give a shit about football. Also, for their information, the majority of the population in normal times are not interested in football. So they can all fuck off into their self-important, "better than anyone else" bubbles.
54 Posted 01/05/2020 at 20:10:42
55 Posted 01/05/2020 at 20:38:21
It's the Premier League in desperation and pure greed to finish the season behind closed doors, in what would be no more than half-hearted trial games.
I've nothing against any business or person having contingency plans but right now this country and most of the world is in a very fine mess.
Does the Premier League consider the impact to all industries, perhaps their sponsors, the dire, dire straits we all face, in one way or another, be it health, financial and employment status and our general futures???
The Premier League, who genuinely don't give two hoots about football supporters, should have no exceptions made. Time to cut their cloth to suit, like the rest of the world is having to do.
All stay safe and well.
56 Posted 02/05/2020 at 18:43:28
Next match behind closed doors: Goodison without the bear pit.
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