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‘You are deluded if you think we won’t see Premier League football played again in the near future’

2 years ago

It is now over five weeks since we all last saw Premier League football played.

It feels like an awful lot longer than that.

The big question now, is when will games restart?

Whenever news of provisional plans being made for top tier games to be played again and belatedly finish off this 2019/20 Premier League season, you get the same reaction from a number of people, particularly certain attention seeking journalists keen to stand out by having a ‘strong’ viewpoint. These journalists (and other people) coming up with reasons why supposedly it will prove impossible to do so in the foreseeable future, usually alongside another opinion to get extra attention, namely that this current season should be abandoned.

However…you are deluded if you think we won’t see Premier League football played again in the near future.

With all plans that talk about Premier League matches starting up again, it is now taken for granted that initially at least, games will take place behind closed doors, as part of  a gradual return to normality.

Even in that scenario you get journalists and others saying that it will prove impossible in the next few months because it won’t be 100% safe to do so, that inevitably some players will end up contracting the virus, as it will still be around, even if the threat is down from what it is now.

Welcome to the real world.

In the months to come, maybe years, the idea of  ‘100% safe’ to play Premier League football again in terms of the virus won’t exist. Talk of having an effective vaccine is way down the line, end of this year at best, more likely 12/18 months from now, possibly there will never be one.

In the meantime life will have to go on.

This current lockdown period has been to try and lessen the spread and incidence of the virus and most importantly, try and ensure the NHS isn’t overwhelmed, left with more cases  than it can deal with at any one time.

However, these lockdown measures can only go on for so long, for social reasons and in particular, financial ones.

You will get no doubt virtue signallers saying to this that health is more important than money, which of course is true up to a point, BUT for most of us earning our living is intrinsically linked to staying healthy. You know, keeping a roof over our heads, food on the table, paying for utilities.

The government (taxpayers) paying for half the country to stay at home and not work, can only have a very limited shelf life.

The real world is that this three month period of government support can’t go on much longer beyond that, if at all.

We will all have to return to work and earn our livings. Things might be a little/lot different, health/social distancing measures in place, people doing things differently…but back to work nonetheless.

We all need to earn money that then is spent and keeps the whole thing going, money to pay for our rent/mortgage, shopping, heating and lighting.

Football players are no different.

If we are all going back to working in our factories, shops, offices, warehouses and so on, 22 Premier League players will surely be expected to be able to play a game of football in the open air behind closed doors.

All possible measures will be taken such as repeat testing and so on but if/when a player tests positive, that won’t bring a total permanent halt to PL games being played/completed. Instead it will be a case of doing the best in the circumstances, just as it will be for the rest of us in our normal jobs. Reality is anyway, you have millions and millions of NHS staff, people working in shops and the supply chain etc, all continuing to do this anyway.

The bottom line is that just like those of us working for a company that needs to trade normally again for us to have a job still to go to, for football players it is the same.

If Premier League football doesn’t start up again (start of June said to be the provisional date the PL is looking at now), where would the cash be to pay them?

I have zero sympathy/acceptance for the likes of Mike Ashley exploiting public funds by the furlough scheme, because so long as Premier League football starts up again in the coming months and the 2019/20 season is completed and the broadcast revenue etc comes in, there will be plenty cash to pay even Premier League players. Then of course you would have the 2020/21 revenues quickly kicking in as that season would quickly follow, although the small portion that is matchday revenue for most PL clubs these days would be probably missing, at least initially. However, no doubt extra revenue would replace that to an extent with those people who usually go to games, paying for TV access instead.

If journalists and others want to say that Premier League (and other major European leagues) can’t start again until far further down the line, then rather than pay cuts and deferred wages for PL players it would surely have to be zero (hours?) wages. As I say, I have no sympathy for monstrous billionaire owners such as Mike Ashley who is unnecessarily milking public funds at the minute BUT if a company/club has no revenue then it can’t pay its workers/players.

As for individual players deciding that even though their club is back training and then playing games, they aren’t prepared to do so due to health/safety worries, then they are in the same boat as the rest of us who are in normal (low paid) jobs. You can’t expect to still be paid when you aren’t prepared to work, when all your work colleagues/teammates are doing so.

This is not an ideal situation for any of us but Premier League football will be the same as any line of work, a return towards some kind of normality has to happen sooner rather than later.


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