Arsenal are in ‘full support’ of the Premier League goal to complete all remaining domestic matches for the 2019/20 season, according to a club statement.
Arsenal wrote on their club website that they plan to support the current objective, to complete the 2019/20 season whenever it’s actually possible to do so. They emphasise that this is to maintain the competition’s integrity.
The statement read: “As a club, we are in full support of the objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches from the 2019/20 season to be played, in order to maintain the integrity of each competition.
“We also fully agree with the principle that any return to action will only be with the full backing of Government and when medical guidance allows.”
Interestingly, the latest update also claimed all match tickets and hospitality will remain valid for rearranged fixtures.
“As mentioned in previous updates, we are understandably receiving many questions from fans regarding ticketing for future matches.
“Please be assured that all match tickets and purchased hospitality will be valid for rearranged fixtures once they are confirmed.”
This is a pretty bold claim to make, given the strong likelihood of games behind closed doors. Clearly, Arsenal are hoping football won’t return until it’s possible to get all the supporters in.
When it comes to maintaining the competition’s integrity, I hope Arsenal stick to their current stance. If that’s why we’re trying to complete the season, football should return in the same format we left it in.
That means a normal amount of substitutions and evenly-spaced matches. Home and away games (not neutral venues), VAR in full working order and – ideally – fans in the stands.
Only that last point should even be up for debate. The rest should be non-negotiable if we want to maintain integrity.
Of course, if the reality is that we’re just fulfilling obligations to broadcasters to get a payday, then end the competition however you want. Just don’t pretend it’s about integrity unless you actually intend to honour that.