The Premier League is silently pondering the prospect of resuming the 2019/20 campaign as the coronavirus crisis gets only worse in the UK. The officials insisted they won’t even think of resuming the campaign before it’s deemed safe enough to do so, but are determined to ensure that they don’t have to cancel anything.
A recent update indicated that the league could resume on June 6, even though no particular date has been confirmed. Now it’s certain that the games will be played strictly behind closed doors, but even so the number of essential personnel will make every match a large gathering.
The league must ensure utmost safety for the players, staff, technical personal and whoever is deemed to be in close surroundings for the games. This includes daily or weekly testing as well as isolation for players from their families.
Only after that can they map out a plan on how to restart the campaign. Let’s look at the ways the Premier League can ensure restarting its season safely in June.
1. Start in early June – finish by the end of July
Now, this is the most probable outcome for the campaign to finish. UEFA has already extended the campaign indefinitely and won’t be restarting the Champions League before August. Hence the Premier League gets enough time to wrap up its games in the June-July period.
In just under two months, they would comfortably be able to finish off all the remaining games. Of course, a few double game-weeks forcing teams to play twice a week would have to take place, but at least we’ll have a completed season which will help decide the top-four race as well as the relegation battle.
This also gives plenty of rest to players, who will be able to train properly before having to play games once or twice a week.
2. Finish by the end of June
A few Premier League clubs are pushing for the campaign to be finished by June 30, which would mean a frantic race against time to finish things off. This is due to the fact that player contracts or loan deals tend to expire at the end of June.
While FIFA has extended the period of any contracts ending in June to when the current campaigns actually finish, many clubs aren’t willing to bear the losses of paying extra. Not just that, but many commercial or sponsorship deals end in June which could cause other financial troubles.
If the Premier League does have to restart as well as finish in June, some game-weeks will have to be cut-back. Only the most ‘important’ games will take place. The clubs have suggested for games deciding the relegation as well as the top-four battles are given priority & for Liverpool to be handed the title to finish things off in June itself.
3. What about Gary Neville’s nine-day “Festival of Football”?
Perhaps the most bizarre solution to finish the season in rapid fashion came from former Manchester United captain Gary Neville. He suggested that the remaining games in the season be finished off in just nine days, which would mean almost 10 games being played each & every day.
He indicated that the players will be ready to finish the campaign in nine-days if it’s required to. The former United defender also called it as something ‘spectacular’ but actually pulling this off would be a Herculean task for teams as well as the organizers themselves.
This would mean for the games to take place in the same region, in around 2-3 stadiums and in different time-slots during the day. It would mean for a number of games to take place in the morning, a few more in the afternoon & the remaining ones in the evening or at night.
This nine-day bonanza can be extremely exhausting for players, causing more injuries & just reducing the quality of games due to lack of match-fitness. It’s perhaps possible in an extreme situation if the season is dragged on for A LONG TIME, but that would be a crazy, hectic way to actually end the campaign.