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Saints CEO Comments On Premier League Resumption.
Sunday, 22nd Mar 2020 20:48

Many Saints fans would have been unaware of the name Martin Semmens as he has been a lot more in the background than some of his predecessors, but he has now broken cover to take about the Premier League suspension.

Martin Semmens has spoken to the media to give his opinion that the Premier League could resume before the out break of the Coronavirus is completely contained

He suggests that the resumption would be "a sign that the country is coming back to normal" but it should not happen before it is safe.:

Speaking to Radio Solent he said

"We have to do what is right and safe for the general public,"

"When everybody is safe and we're not using up NHS and police resources, the government would like us to get back to playing because we are entertainment and a sign that the country is coming back to normal.

"If people are home for another month and Premier League football is on the TV every day that can only be a good thing. Not because we are more essential than the NHS but because we can give people entertainment and show that we're fighting back."

Semmens indicated that teams are hopeful of completing the league by the end of June but did not yet know when play would resume.

Some players will be out of contract on 30 June, but Semmens believes players could be convinced to stay for longer should play continue beyond that point.

"We hope to get the league done by the end of June," Semmens added. "As soon as you go past that date, there are legal challenges.

"If we ended up playing until 15 July and you had to extend a player's contract by two weeks, convincing a player to play two more weeks of football and get paid nicely to do it - I don't believe that will be a substantial challenge.

"The challenge is making sure we don't have a knock-on effect to other seasons and make football compromised for years to come."

Semmens is only repeating what was discussed at last weeks meeting of Premier League clubs, but in truth all of it is mere speculation as at this moment it appears that no one has any idea how long and how bad the escalation of the virus will be, so he is only speculating about what might happen.

He is though revealing that plans seem to be in place to play games behind closed doors, but his account doesn't mention that if that is the case then it is far from certain the games will be on TV given that at an early stage of recovery the Government might not want to encourage large gatherings in pubs to watch the game, so it is likely to be streamed on clubs websites rather than on Sky or BT.

Semmens is also playing down the issue of players contracts should as is likely the season might extend past July 1st.

Whilst players might be prepared to play, it is not quite as simple as extending contracts for two weeks, the real question is whether those players would be prepared to risk serious injury for another two weeks pay and for that I can't blame them.

Many of those out of contract would be looking to sign up with another club as soon as July 1st passed, so would they gamble a secure contact over a number of years for a two week extension at a club that doesn't want them..

I would suggest not.

From a Saints perspective two of our players out of contract are already out on loan so not part of our squad, only Shane Long would likely have to make a decision.

From another angle, we would actually have a number of players out on loan returning to us at the end of May so potentially would have them available, whilst several probably would not be wanted back . you also have to say that one or two might offer us something we have lacked.

So in many respect Martin Semmens told us little we didn't already know, but it was good to hear from him, over the past year we have heard little from those running the club, so hopefully this heralds a new age of communication.

Photo: Action Images



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underweststand added 08:25 - Mar 23
It seems the majority of those interviewed (aside from Karen Brady) agree that one way or another the season must be completed - sooner or probably later.
Martin Semmens suggestion is not the worst idea I've heard. With 90 Prem. games left , it would allow one or two games to be played each day from mid April , or start of May, and the season would be completed by mid-June, thus resolve the outstanding fixtures and allow an organised planning for next season -whenever that might start.
I can recall "the BIg Freeze" of 1962-63 season when the country was brought to a halt - by snow, and Saints didn't play a game between Boxing Day 62 and early February 63, but everything was finally sorted out by mid May.

I'm sure that many fans already have "withdrawal symptoms " , but many get that during the cricket season anyway. Playing games without spectators may seem harsh, but in some games I've witnessed the crowd were so quiet they might just as well not be there.
Providing players are fit there is nothing to stop games taking place, because at the moment squads can only be selected from those who are fit ...and /or injury free.

Without a sensible finish to this season, Liverpool cannot win the title "properly" and it would be a catastrophe for teams like West Brom and Leeds, and those in L1, L2 and National League clubs who might not get such a good season... the next time around.
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highfield49 added 11:31 - Mar 23
To be honest I've now got reservations about playing matches behind closed doors, particularly with a tv audience in isolation. Hopefully Saints would pick up enough points to reach safety but the "entertainment value" for supporters of teams dropping into the relegation places could be emotionally catastrophic if they are still unable to share their despondency. Thinking about those annual end of season images of devastated kids and adults sitting in emptying stadiums is for me a real issue. Relegation or missed promotion aren't such a big deal when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but that often comes with time and the opportunity to get things in perspective. Not so easy when you can't meet up at the pub and share the doom and gloom.
Although it's not a view that I've seen elsewhere in the media, but I'm equally sure I'm not alone, would it be worth considering starting next season with the current standings in place? Liverpool would have a huge points gap that is their's to lose and the likes of Leeds would have an advantage in their promotion chase. Not ideal maybe but I bet any Leeds supporter would wish they'd grabbed that if they slip down the table after the closed doors re-start.
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SaintNick added 12:19 - Mar 23
Its unrealistic to merge two seasons, for one reason that of transfers etc, the season has to be played to a conclusion that is the only fair way. I think that is the decision of football already, the only question is how and when.
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DPeps added 08:30 - Mar 24
I'm moving towards thinking that they'll make the season null and void. Frankly no-one knows how long this virus will last and so how can anything be planned? Even if they go for behind doors games, fans of clubs are going to congregate to celebrate, especially when Liverpool win the league, and I don't think the government or police would want that. Also, playing out the end of the season will cause a significant delay to the start of the season, which may mean that euro 2021 can't be played.

There's no ideal scenario here, but calling it now is probably the least bad option in the long term.
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