As the world continues in the grip of the COVID-10 pandemic, European football’s governing body UEFA are calling for its 55 member leagues not to abandon their campaigns. In truth, just like most of the rest of the world they are guessing and attempting to plan the unplannable.
Belgium clubs looking to abandon season 2019/20
The directors of the Belgian Jupiler League have made a recommendation to abandon the current season and use the placings of the teams to decide key issues. The possibility has also been discussed at several Holland’s biggest clubs too, with Ajax’s sporting director Marc Overmars in favour of the cancellation.
The possibility of cancelling the rest of the 2019/20 season was not discussed during UEFA’s video conference meeting with its members. However, it seems that Belgium are first to broach the subject with the wider international bodies.
If the season is cancelled, then no doubt other leagues will follow, and not just the Eredivisie. Abandoning the campaign at this stage would have major implications in some leagues, particularly the Premier League.
The Premier League would then have to take the massive financial hit of not picking up television revenue. Maybe this is the situation that shows the absurdity of the money in the English top-flight.
UEFA urges member leagues to carry on
The European governing body has urged member leagues to complete their full league programme, when safe and healthy to do so. In a recent letter, they state that leagues need to be settled on the pitch in the correct way.
The biggest question for UEFA is when will it be safe to play again? Football is very few people’s priority at the moment with deaths around the world occurring at an alarming rate. However, it is UEFA’s job to manage the European game. It is an unenviable one in these difficult times.
Discussions have taken place and the aim seems to be to resume leagues in July and finish them in August. A schedule such as that is likely to delay next season. It seems, whatever happens over the next few months, next season will suffer schedule changes.
That is why people seem to be advocating cancelling this season and starting afresh in 2019/20. However, as we all know that would complicate things massively, as there would be so much left undecided. Finishing the season makes the most sense, but only if it is possible within a realistic timeframe.
No football for the next few months
Even as football fanatics we understand that there is a bigger picture here. The beautiful game may be most peoples biggest form of entertainment. However, it is certainly not more important than life and death, as Liverpool’s legendary coach Bill Shankly once stated.
We all want football to return. However, it would be irresponsible of the games governing bodies to resume the game in the current climate. That is why their resumption dates for leagues are months down the line.
We are all at the mercy of COVID-19 and the main thing is that we all stay safe and healthy. After we have come through is, which we will, then maybe we can once again start thinking about football.