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Premier League crisis solution laid out – Five point plan

6 months ago
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How DO we finish the 2019/20 Premier League season?

That is the question on everyone’s lips.

Well alright, the first question on everyone’s lips is obviously when is this bloody virus and the problems it’s causing going away, but you know what I mean.

The news that most non-league fixtures that have already been played are set to be made null and void is an unprecedented and disturbing development. It’s not right that it’s happened at that level and it can’t be allowed to happen further up the leagues. There is no logical reason why the remaining fixtures across all competitions can’t be played. None whatsoever.

What we know is that matches are currently suspended until April 30th. That’s not a problem in reality but personally I find it incomprehensible that any matches will be played even in May.

Under the circumstances, you can take news reports with a pinch of salt but from what I’ve heard and read AND looking at bare faced facts on what’s going on, we are only in the early stages of this outbreak. The Prime Minister and his advisors (some infected themselves) keep talking about ‘flattening the curve’ which in lame man’s terms means slowing the rate of infection/deaths and then eventually reducing them until we combat the problem completely.

Regardless of your political position, this is solid, sound advice. Football and sport in general takes a massive back seat.

Incredibly, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has stated that:

“The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If we don’t succeed [with any of these options], the season will probably be lost.”

How unbelievably short-sighted. Cases (and deaths) are sadly still rising so we can’t even predict when the current lockdown is to be lifted, let alone when sporting events can resume, which makes resumption at the start of May impossible and June highly unlikely. There’s a chance of July though even that would be silly to predict but for arguments sake let’s go with the start of July.

At present Newcastle have nine Premier League games remaining. In July you can potentially cram the games in if you play on a Wednesday/Saturday/Wednesday basis. To complete the FA Cup in the same month would be silly and then there’s the Champions League to complete with games left to play across Europe’s premier competition. The most logical structure would be to finish the domestic season in July as I’ve suggested and then finish off both the FA Cup and Champions League in August.

However, that raises the question of the 2020/21 season.

When does it start?

When will it finish?

Do we scrap the League Cup next season to fit league games in?

And what if, as is highly likely, we aren’t able to resume sporting events until much later this year? The 2019/20 season can’t simply ‘be lost’ as the UEFA President puts it.

The government won’t lift the lockdown and relax everything back to normal and risk a further outbreak, so it’s going to be unlikely that football will be played in July. The powers that be have hinted at a three month lockdown, either total or in part. A more realistic time for football to resume in my opinion is October at the earliest.

The UEFA President is keen to protect the revenue that will be flooding in for next season’s matches. I understand that but I don’t agree with it. Why the rush? Many pundits have stuck their oars in and called for the season to be scrapped.

Harry Kane has called for the season to be binned off if we can’t finish it by June. Well he would say that. That would mean when next season starts, Tottenham Hotspur would restart in the Champions League, something they are unlikely to do at present. Selfish, selfish, selfish! I’m no Liverpool fan but to not award them the title would be criminal and to award it without completing the season would leave the award a tarnished one. I have an astonishingly simple solution.

Scrap the 2020/21 season. Believe me, that would have been the ONLY course of action had this outbreak occurred five months later than it did, so the fact it all kicked off in March and not August makes no difference.

Time can be taken to adequately finish all games across Europe from this season and then allow everyone time (players and fans included) to have a well earned break and in the case of supporters, get their finances and lives back in order. Lord knows us fans are going to need time to breathe. Things can simply get back to normal for the 2021/22 season.

Indeed a precedent to scrap an upcoming season has already been set, albeit a hundred years ago and in more serious and deadly circumstances.

Look back at the history books and you will find FOUR seasons missing due to World War I and then another SEVEN seasons missing from the footballing records due to World War II. To get through over seventy years without missing a season with all the problems in the world is some achievement but in this instance I think it’s no big deal to miss a campaign. There will simply be an asterisk in the record books next to the 2020/21 season. * Season cancelled due to global pandemic.

Firstly we need to get through the current full lockdown and out the other side as that’s the priority. I predict that this won’t be until August at the earliest but my five point plan going forward is as follows:-

Reach an agreement with all players in the Premier league to half their wage for the period of the current FULL lockdown with the difference going to the NHS/Emergency services in each player’s country.

Play the remaining domestic league games starting no later than January 2021 until all leagues are completed across Europe.

Play the remaining rounds of both FA Cup and Champions League as soon as the domestic leagues are completed. For example February/March of next year.

Have a prolonged ‘summer break’ in 2021 to incorporate the Euros.

Resume things a few weeks early for the 2021/22 season and this would keep some managers happy over fixture congestion.

These are unprecedented times. The game WILL survive but rushing into snap decisions and cancelling nearly a whole season with nine games to go is preposterous.

Stay safe everyone and thank you to the NHS and Emergency services for what they do.

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