The Premier League are reportedly coming under pressure from stakeholder clubs to produce a solution that would see the Premier League season finished before the end of June but that’s simply not going to be possible.
With the UK nowhere near their peak in relation to this pandemic, the idea of filling stadiums with people is so far from ludicrous it deserves no attention. The other option, of course, is a series of behind-closed-doors games, but the logistics of that alone, given how many people would be involved, even if you stripped squads, travelling parties, officials, and people needed to operate the stadiums, to the bare minimum, that’s still a lot of people to keep six feet apart.
In Germany, where they have been far more on top of this crisis than the UK, they are hoping to begin to ease certain restrictions in society at the start of May but even they will have a ban on mass gatherings until at least 31 August.
They are hoping to bring in BCD games after 4 May, but to believe the Premier League could do the same ‘soon after’ as Martin Samuel writes in his Daily Mail piece shows how little grasp he, or the Premier League, seem to have on how bad this pandemic is and how the Germany government have handled their response which, unlike the UK’s, has not been a total disaster.
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“The next meeting of Premier League stakeholders is scheduled for tomorrow [Friday] and the clubs want the issues around this season’s deadline to be top of the agenda,” writes Samuel. “All clubs are aware of the discussion, even if they are not all in favour of a set date for curtailment.
“Previously, July 12 had been key to the Premier League calendar because completing matches by then would avoid rebates to broadcast partners but that date has been brought forward with a number of clubs receiving legal advice, particularly on the subject of player contracts.
“FIFA say they will bring in special measures to protect clubs and players whose contracts expire on June 30, the official end of the European season. Yet clubs have been advised that English contractual law would supersede any arbitrary or emergency arrangements introduced by the governing body and players could not be held to FIFA’s rulings.
“This raises the possibility of loaned players, or those out of contract — such as Pedro, Olivier Giroud and Willian at Chelsea, Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham and Adam Lallana at Liverpool — being able to leave their clubs on July 1, even if the campaign was under way but incomplete.”
Arsenal only have a handful of players out of contract this summer, none of whom will be a huge loss so that isn’t really much of an issue for the club as it is for others.
How football sorts out the rest of it, however, will not be simple, easy or without massive arguments between leagues, clubs, governments and health officials.