Premier League In Advanced Talks To Resume Football
Monday, 6th Apr 2020 09:51
According to reports in the media, the Premier League are in advanced talks to resume football in June, potentially behind closed doors.
I am not surprised by the news that football is mooted to return in June, after all I have said as much since the first weekend that the Premier League was suspended, back then when it was announced that football would be shut down for three weeks I knew that would not be the case, nor did I expect it to resume at the end of April.
I said then it would be resumed in June with the aim of completing the season in mid July on the weekend the Euro final would have been played July 12th.
Whilst many ranted that it would be impossible to complete the season and restart the next one in so short a period, I looked at it in perspective, most Premier League clubs had only 9 games left to play and doing that in 6 weeks was not that packed a fixture list, indeed there would have been parts of this season when a similar number of games would have been played in that number of weeks, in fact in the scheduled fixture list if it had been completed we would have played 7 games in the final 6 weeks.
Given that many Premier League players would have been on International duty to potentially July 12th anyway, the schedule was already in place.
I also knew that football was already in talks before the shutdown happened and I could see the pattern emerging.
If you think that the Government and indeed football do not have a detailed plan and are just winging it from week to week then you are a little naive, the June start date has been in place all along, but the illusion had to be given that football could restart long before that as the Government was pursuing a policy of a gradual slide into lockdown to firstly prevent panic and secondly they saw the mental & psychological issues of long social isolation with nothing to look forward to.
Of course no one truly knows how severe the critical stage is, only that it we are probably only 7-10 days away from it now and we are probably going to be in the middle of it for around 2 weeks.
Then it will be a case of how quickly it will be safe to start to relax restrictions on movement etc, it is almost certain that will not happen till around mid May, but the Government will do this slowly and will not want mass gatherings nor unnecessary travel.
This being the case I think the first games at least when the season is resumed will be behind closed doors and will all be televised, this could be surmised when UEFA granted a request to suspend the blackout of Premier League games being allowed to be televised at 3pm on a Saturday.
This embargo was put in place to protect those clubs outside the Premier League whose attendances would be affected if they were in competition with live football on TV at the times they played.
The issue they are looking at though is just where will the games be broadcast and who will show them.
The simple solution would be to let Sky & BT do that, but if pubs have reopened by June then that poses the problem of pubs being packed and that is not something that the Government will want to happen, hence their are plans in place for the games to be shown only via streaming on club websites and then only to season ticket holders, members etc who hold log ins for their club to prevent illegal streaming by pubs etc.
If things do go the way they are predicted then the crowds could then return to the stadiums perhaps mid June, but again I would expect restrictions, I think there will be no visiting supporters allowed and also the games could just be season ticket holders only to again limit numbers.
For Saints that would mean that attendances would only be around 20,000 and it would allow the crowd to spread out a bit in the stadium, as well as outside the stadium where it would be less crowded on the routes in and out.
The Mirror says:
"The Premier League are at an advanced stage in talks with the Government over a return for football in June.
Mirror Sport understands there is a tentative agreement for the top flight to resume behind closed doors after the 20 clubs mapped out a plan with senior officials on a resumption of matches.
In principle, with Government health officials hopeful of a coronavirus peak in the UK in the next few weeks, they will sanction games under strict guidelines.
And at an emergency meeting on Friday the plan was discussed at length, with an accord reached in principle on a finish to the Premier League season should the situation improve as expected."
As I said there is a plan in place and now as we head into the critical stage, here is something to look forward to, to get us through the dark days in April.
All that seems to be talked about though is Premier League football, for the rest of the League there are a lot more issues, the number of games is actually the smallest issue, but it is not possible to televise the entire League programme especially in the bottom division where crowds are small, but fans of Newport County or Grimsby Town love their clubs as much as do fans of the Big Six in many cases more, they will face having to miss even the game on TV let alone it live.
The lower divisions have more issues than the Premier League who can throw money at the problem, however given the low attendances it could be that the fans are allowed to return to watching their team earlier than the top two Leagues.
Make no mistake though the Premier League, Football League and the FA have been working in close tandem with the government, Boris Johnson and his merry men will be well aware of the popularity of football and see it as a beacon of hope going forward, something to keep the spirits up and to look forward to, OK not everyone is a football fan, but it its the sport with the biggest market and a large percentage of the population takes at least a passing interest, so it is the best they have.
Truth is if it goes to plan then the timescales between this season ending and the beginning of next season will not be a lot different than they would have been anyway.
Photo: Action Images
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