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Premier League teams to push for July 1 hard deadline to end season — report

Finish, halt, or abandon?

Deflated and Abandoned Football. Photo by Visionhaus

At the next crunch meeting of Premier League stakeholders on Friday (tomorrow), “at least half the teams will push push for the season to finish on July 1, even if it does not leave enough time to play all the remaining games”.

That’s the word from The Times’ latest, which quotes a couple anonymous “Premier League club insiders” in support of this notion.

To be clear, they aren’t advocating the voiding of the 2019-20 season. They just want to make sure it finishes before the standard end-date, otherwise “it will be chaos”.

While FIFA have recently put in provisions to allow leagues and associations to extend their seasons and player contracts’ beyond June 30, most seem to feel that won’t actually be feasible in the real world with thousands and thousands of players and all teams potentially affected. (The employment lawyers would sure love it!)

Ending a season without the full complement of games played isn’t ideal either, but it would still be a more “fair” solution than simply annulling the past 9 months of games and results (and the associated trophies and European places). Final Premier League standings could very well be awarded on a points-per-game basis, even, in case various teams hadn’t completed all 38 games, for example.

If teams were able to resume playing in June, as was recently green lit “tentatively” — Bundesliga teams are back in training already, and teams in Austria are set to follow as well — we could possibly squeeze in most, if not all of the remaining 9-10 Premier League games before July 1 (and either cancel the Cups and the CL/EL, or play it out later). It would be a big rush to do all that in 30 days, but most teams play every 3-4 days for the majority of the season already. Obviously, there would be fitness concerns and the like, not to mention plenty of concerns about the logistics of it all (location, healthcare, quarantines, etc), but as far as feasible compromise, this solution might have legs.

While no drastic decision is expected to come out of Friday’s meeting — nor should it, with the coronavirus situation still fluid and ever evolving — if and when it comes down to a vote, 14 of the 20 teams would have to agree.

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