Coronavirus: What might occur if the football season is actually cancelled?
The information was obvious from English football authorities on Friday – matches will just be resumed “when it was appropriate and safe to do so”.
But what remains not clear is exactly when competitions will, if at all, restart.
Professional matches had been suspended until the first of May, but that date has now been pushed back indefinitely.
All fixtures in the Premier League, Football League, Female’s Super League and Female’s Championship, and all fixtures in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, are now postponed.
“In this unprecedented problem, we’re working closely with the clubs of ours, Government, The EFL and FA and can reassure everyone the overall health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority,” said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.
The move follows some other decisions made by Football governing authorities in Spain, Italy, and France, while UEFA has agreed to hold off this summer’s European Championships until 2021.
In a statement to Euronews, the Premier League said the “overriding goal is actually aiding the overall health and well being of the nation and the communities of ours, which includes players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters”.
English football authorities had agreed that “difficult decisions” will have to be made to mitigate the economic effect of the suspension of football across the nation.
But the leagues have reiterated the wish of theirs for “all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played” to keep competition integrity.
And UEFA’s choice to suspend Euro 2020 for twelve weeks does make space in the calendar to make certain that European and domestic leagues have even more possibility of being finished.
The Italian football federation (FIGC) have however admitted that the Serie A season may not complete, and stated that they will be talking about a number of alternatives if games can’t be completed.
These alternatives include:
• staging play-offs
• not having a champion for 2019-20
• declaring the current standings final
When Euronews asked the English Premier League in case it was looking to buy the choices indicated by the Italian Football Federation, they directed to us to an earlier declaration.
“Despite the challenges,” it reads, “it is actually the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, which includes those played by Academy sides, when it’s good to do so.”
Any additional steps are presently a question of speculation.
Will the season be concluded?
One substantial action in recent weeks saw the Football Association (FA) totally agree that the present football season must be “extended indefinitely”.
Under existing regulations, the English football season “shall terminate not later than one June” but the FA Board has allowed for this particular deadline to be lengthened.
That choice will definitely favour a selection of clubs, not only in the UK, but across the continent.
Liverpool lead the Premier League by a large twenty five points and demand only three even more wins in their pursuit to finish a 30 year drought. But this unprepared and unexpected for overall health crisis has thrown the season’s conclusion into doubt.
Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher tweeted that the new season of English football “can’t start” until the recent season is actually done.
An independent Liverpool FC site This’s Anfield has also reported that “the most logical step will be pushing back future competitions to accommodate the realization of the present campaign”.
The Premier League battles to stay away from relegation and clinch European football are actually much tighter, with AFC Bournemouth already in the relegation zone on goal difference.
In any other European leagues, only 2 points separate Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the Spanish La Liga, even though the margin between Lazio and Juventus in Serie A is actually smaller.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the league title and relegation spot would certainly be decided on goal difference in case the season were concluding today.
Any choice to conclude the season with or perhaps without the typical effects of titles, promotion, as well as relegation would probably be greeted with big controversy.
Could divisional play offs be an answer?
The name winner in Italy was previously determined by a play off in 1964 when Bologna beat Inter Milan after the 2 sides finished level on points.
The advantage to the leagues will be this would restrict some interruption to future fixtures and seasons, but, once again, goes against all of the hopes that authorities have of completing the video games as intended.
The truth is the fact that there’s no clear style to go by.
Football competition across Europe was last severely affected during and right after the Second World War.
The 1939 40 English Football League season was abandoned after only 3 matches, with Blackpool one point crystal clear at the top of the First Division.
As the country’s focus shifted towards the war effort, regional league contests have been set up as no name and a substitute was given.
There have been increasingly recent examples across Europe where trophies have been owner less.
Juventus had been stripped of their 2004 05 Serie A crown due to the involvement of theirs in the Calciopoli scandal (where fraudulent relationships between specific referees and specific teams were uncovered) and Olympique Marseille lost their 1992 93 French name over a bribery scandal.
But in each of those examples, the seasons had been concluded and no fixtures were abandoned.
Could the season be declared void and null?
On Thursday April two, the Belgian Pro League became the first main competition in Europe to advocate cancellation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Peter Croonen, President of the Pro League, added that “the country has some other goals than football” and cancelling the league was the sole socially responsible choice.
The latest standings will be declared final, and Club Brugge, currently fifteen points ahead of KAA Gent in 1st place, would as a result be declared champions.
Top positions as well as the winners in Belgian football are usually decided via playoffs. There seemed to be a single match of the regular season remaining once the league was suspended, with relegation and play off decisions still contestable.
The announcement in Belgium seemed to contravene directions from UEFA, who sent a letter to European football associations very last week, urging them never to abandon competitions.
Europe’s football governing body are actually optimistic that games might be restarted in August and July, as well as claim that “any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is actually, at that point, early and never justified”.
Halting leagues with no approval from UEFA could see teams blocked from qualifying for the Champions League and Europa League, that are decided based on final positions in domestic standings.
But Belgium football authorities seem to have challenged UEFA and have called for a’ variable approach’ to abandoning the 2019 20 season.
While the European directive points to an eventual resumption of football, Belgium will hold additional meetings with UEFA this week.
Further afield in Chile, last season’s Campeonato Nacional football season was suspended in mid October as a result of widespread anti government demonstrations, with 6 fixtures still to be played.
The following failed efforts to resume the season, the name was later given to Club Deportivo Universidad Católica, that had been leading the league by a cozy, but not unassailable, thirteen points.
Additionally, no teams had been relegated to the next tier, Primera B, at the conclusion of the season.
Rather, the best division was expanded in 2020 from sixteen to eighteen teams, with the best 2 teams from Primera B promoted.
The concept of development will prove an altogether different headache for European football authorities, but there’s definitely support and precedent from within Europe for ending the season today.
Though hardly any conversation has pointed to wiping the 2019 20 season from the history books.
Additional meetings are going to take place in the UK, as the Premier League appears to produce a strategy to take care of these unprecedented circumstances.
Any choice is going to focus not only on players and clubs, but also staff, supporters and sponsors.