As the great poet T.S. Elliot once wrote. “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.” His poem, “The Hollow Men”, is beautiful and bleak as its subjects come to the foreboding realization of being spiritually dead.
Perhaps one day the powers that be amongst The FA, Premier League, and English Football League will come to terms with the moral dilemma of pushing forward with concluding the 2019-20 season amidst a pandemic. A major concern for The FA, Premier League, and other relevant parties will be the ramifications of a season cut short, as millions of lost revenue is at risk.
According to Football.London, “a conference call between the three governing bodies and the government on Saturday, the plan was reached to complete the season in July, with games to take place behind closed doors over a period of four to six weeks unless the situation worsens in the UK.”
This sounds like a slight extension of the timeline hoped for last weekend, with the season starting in June and finishing mid-July, though according to stories circulating this week, there’s a growing interest to just abandon the season. Officially, the Premier League and Football League seasons are suspended until April 30th. UEFA and ECA had previously committed to not extend season beyond June 30th.
The situation is fluid, that’s for certain, and things will change many more times before a final solution can be found. With the impact of COVID-19 beginning to take the UK by storm, it truly is unknown what the world will be like a month from now.
Between now and then, those in charge will need to plan out how to end the 2019-20 season. Given all the moving variables and deadlines and circumstances at large, that may be an impossible task at the moment, but there’s no harm in trying to plan for possible outcomes.
- Will players and staff safety be ensured, let alone insured?
- Will cup competitions be scrapped to give league fixtures priority?
- What happens to players (Willian and Pedro) whose contracts are set to expire on June 30th?
- What happens to incoming players (Hakim Ziyech) who have agreed to join in the summer transfer window starting July 1st?
- Will players, staff, clubs be willing to play matches without fans? There seems to be plenty of detractors already.
- How will legal, commercial and broadcast interests be satisfied and compensated?
- And probably many more...
All of these questions and more will need to be addressed in the coming days, weeks, months.
We have had quite an eventful 2019-20 season: the highs and low of the Frank Lampard regime, the youth revolution, and witnessing what was perhaps the most formidable Premier League side ever. And yet whether Liverpool will ever get their title is far from a certainty, and whether Chelsea’s youth revolution will be expunged from the record books is a strange possibility that also has to be considered.
Stay tuned. Stay safe.