Don’t think that because football restarts we are all now safe from the virus…

What About Next Season? By Dan Smith

So, we now know football will be returning in June, with Arsenal’s visit to Man City as one of the opening games.

If it should? The reasons why? These are all debatable. Yet the danger is that with the League resuming, everyone is left to think we are safe from this virus. That attitude is not exclusive to sport.

Since Boris Johnson has relaxed the government’s social distancing rules, you only have to go to your local beach to realise people are not taking this Pandemic as serious as they were a month ago.

The government have been willing to contradict their own rules to ensure the season resumes. Not for fans, not for our escapism, but for money. The Premiership is one of the UK most lucrative brands and it serves no one well for clubs to go bust.

Yet finishing the campaign might be the equivalent of sticking a bandage over the wound, you slow down the bleeding but you’re not stopping it.

Talks are already underway for the 2020-2021 season to start in September, but surely it can’t with the following short cuts. Testing twice a week, keeping players locked up in hotels, possibly neutral venues, etc, is manageable for 6 weeks but not realistic for 8 months.

TV companies are already demanding money back because the product has been altered. Will they take exceptions to football looking this way in the long term?

At some point authorities can’t just consider the wealthy, but also how this might impact the less fortunate. The EFL can’t afford the testing without match day revenue. The idea of League one and Two clubs becoming extinct would harm the image of the game and push supporters away.

We know why owners refused to void anything, they didn’t want to owe money to networks and sponsors. The Premiership didn’t have a choice. However they ended things they simply couldn’t keep everyone happy. They would have faced lawsuits, especially with 4 clubs having played a game less than the rest.
Imagine Aston Villa’s lawyers for example if they had been relegated when they had a game in hand over their rivals? Clearly there is so much to lose that all parties were never going to consider it a possibility that this season doesn’t finish.

Contradicting your own guidelines, using up police time, taking away resources from the NHS, tests twice a week when not all on the front line has access – there is nothing they wouldn’t do for greed.

I like to think greed won’t be as paramount come September. Say if there was a second spike you could delay any start. It would be foolish to start anything you couldn’t finish, and again have to worry about legal action based on relegation, qualifying for Europe, clubs playing an even amount of games, etc.
Surely you can get a Sky or BT to agree to wait?

Of course, there’s every chance deaths are ignored, loved one can’t see each other, families can’t fully attend funerals and social distancing rules are ignored, etc, all for the sake of football making as much money as possible.

Dan Smith

8 Comments

  1. Reggie says:

    Its about timing, if we start football too early, then the fallout becomes greater. People will argue that if we start later, clubs wont cope financially. For me life is the most important thing in this equation, money is secondary. The truth is football does not matter, it is a sport and not a necessity, things that are necessary start first, things that aren’t and are more likely to cause more break outs, start later, or when it is safe. We aren’t in a safe period, we are in a lull because we have all been locked away for two months and some still are. Some things can and have to start and some things we have to take a risk of sorts. Football isn’t one but it is and we all hope that we dont regret it in the long term.

    1. SueP says:

      Very fair Reggie

      Football at the highest level was a sport in my younger days but it has morphed into a multi million pound business and that is the problem.

      1. Reggie says:

        That is the truth Sue, money, the route of all evil.

    2. jon fox says:

      100% agree Reggie. Shame that some on here don’t or won’t, preferring their passion and pleasure back before it is safe, above the risk to lives.

  2. Andrew Elder says:

    My feelings exactly Reggie and the EPL should be spending their time and energy preparing for the start of NEXT season instead of the unseemly haste to complete this one. It’s all about money, potential risks to people involved including players take a back seat.

  3. Reggie says:

    Agree peeps, i think we should have voided this season and worked on starting next. I think whatever happens this season for me is over, its a dead duck.

    1. jon fox says:

      For clarity Reggie and although I much agree it is far too early to resume this season, I have have NEVER SAID and do NOT think that this season should have been voided . I always said just to wait until it is safe but NOT to cancel it. I HAVE said I thought it may have been voided but that was NOT my personal choice.

      1. Reggie says:

        Yes Jon, this season could have been completed but for me it would and is not right to have two thirds of a normal season and one third of not, make up a season. For me, if you cant complete a season in similar conditions and scenarios then it isnt a season. Playing one third under the conditions they are going too is like playing under different rules. Unless this season can be completed in similar conditions, then for me it should end. How and to what satisfaction is something that would be a problem for the league to sort out. Cricket have solutions for rain and delays to come to an outcome, the prem if it had to should do the same, or finish the season when it was possible to do so under the same conditions.

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