How to Conclude the Premier League Season
Author: Emily Pulham. Published: 12 April 2020 at 11:21am
Written by : Graham Keeffe
As Covid-19 continues to ravage its way across the globe, it’s fair to say the current issues surrounding the ending of the premier league season are relatively nominal. At some point however, normality must and will resume. For a moment, let us take a break from the unrelenting news of the global pandemic, shuffle into the almost forgotten realm of the 3 o’ clock kick-off and pose the question: how can we finish the current league season?
Some have called for this season to be ruled completely null and void. Someone who has been rather vocal on the matter is none other than our esteemed co-chair Baroness Brady. Naturally, this was met with an array of criticism from the masses on social media, which led to Brady attempting to clarify her statements. She probably should have quit while she was ahead. Brady’s comments not only portrayed West Ham football club in a bad light, but also showed a total lack of respect and disregard for clubs in the second tier currently vying for promotion. To implement Brady’s hair-brained scheme would also result in Liverpool being denied their first league title in 30 years, Wolves and Sheffield United potentially being denied a shot at Champion’s League football and zero repercussions for teams in the lower half of the table who have consistently underperformed all season. This is simply not an option.
A more favoured recommendation, though slightly optimistic, is to allow for a 22 team league next season. This would see the top two teams from the Championship, currently Leeds and West Brom achieving promotion. Whilst the idea is exciting it would prove extremely harsh for the other clubs currently shooting it out for playoff promotion. Even QPR, who sit in 13th, have an outside chance of entering the fray as they remain just 6 points off the final playoff spot. A structure would also need to be implemented in terms of relegation. Are additional relegation spots created? Can a relegation playoff structure similar to the Bundesliga be successfully implemented? Will UEFA agree to such a structure? In theory, the idea of a 22 team league is exciting, however the impact of adopting this model would send ripples throughout the entire English footballing pyramid. It’s certainly food for thought.
The final and perhaps most realistic way to conclude the season is by actually concluding it. No one can be exactly sure of when Covid-19 will relinquish its vice grips on world affairs but a slowing or containment of the virus could see football being played behind closed doors. Without fans, football truly is half the spectacle, but if needs must the show should go on. With the Euros now postponed until 2021, there is no pressure on clubs from international bodies to rest players and restrict playing time. Yet, there are still issues pertaining to the summer transfer window and players who are out contract. Temporary extensions to both would be required. As many pros now rely heavily on their agents’ advice, those contract extensions could result in many clubs forking out extra cash. Although finishing the season appears to be the most viable option, it still poses its fair share of problems.
Nevertheless, the world of football can take comfort in the fact that all leagues are in the same position (unless you support a Belarusian team). Encouraging images surfaced from Germany this week as a number of Bundesliga clubs were able to return to training. Very slowly but surely, normality to life and football will return. In the meantime, we’ll continue to enjoy re-runs of classic encounters and reminisce on former glories. Stay safe and be well. COYI.