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Premier League In Advanced Talks To Resume Football
Monday, 6th Apr 2020 09:51

According to reports in the media, the Premier League are in advanced talks to resume football in June, potentially behind closed doors.

I am not surprised by the news that football is mooted to return in June, after all I have said as much since the first weekend that the Premier League was suspended, back then when it was announced that football would be shut down for three weeks I knew that would not be the case, nor did I expect it to resume at the end of April.

I said then it would be resumed in June with the aim of completing the season in mid July on the weekend the Euro final would have been played July 12th.

Whilst many ranted that it would be impossible to complete the season and restart the next one in so short a period, I looked at it in perspective, most Premier League clubs had only 9 games left to play and doing that in 6 weeks was not that packed a fixture list, indeed there would have been parts of this season when a similar number of games would have been played in that number of weeks, in fact in the scheduled fixture list if it had been completed we would have played 7 games in the final 6 weeks.

Given that many Premier League players would have been on International duty to potentially July 12th anyway, the schedule was already in place.

I also knew that football was already in talks before the shutdown happened and I could see the pattern emerging.

If you think that the Government and indeed football do not have a detailed plan and are just winging it from week to week then you are a little naive, the June start date has been in place all along, but the illusion had to be given that football could restart long before that as the Government was pursuing a policy of a gradual slide into lockdown to firstly prevent panic and secondly they saw the mental & psychological issues of long social isolation with nothing to look forward to.

Of course no one truly knows how severe the critical stage is, only that it we are probably only 7-10 days away from it now and we are probably going to be in the middle of it for around 2 weeks.

Then it will be a case of how quickly it will be safe to start to relax restrictions on movement etc, it is almost certain that will not happen till around mid May, but the Government will do this slowly and will not want mass gatherings nor unnecessary travel.

This being the case I think the first games at least when the season is resumed will be behind closed doors and will all be televised, this could be surmised when UEFA granted a request to suspend the blackout of Premier League games being allowed to be televised at 3pm on a Saturday.

This embargo was put in place to protect those clubs outside the Premier League whose attendances would be affected if they were in competition with live football on TV at the times they played.

The issue they are looking at though is just where will the games be broadcast and who will show them.

The simple solution would be to let Sky & BT do that, but if pubs have reopened by June then that poses the problem of pubs being packed and that is not something that the Government will want to happen, hence their are plans in place for the games to be shown only via streaming on club websites and then only to season ticket holders, members etc who hold log ins for their club to prevent illegal streaming by pubs etc.

If things do go the way they are predicted then the crowds could then return to the stadiums perhaps mid June, but again I would expect restrictions, I think there will be no visiting supporters allowed and also the games could just be season ticket holders only to again limit numbers.

For Saints that would mean that attendances would only be around 20,000 and it would allow the crowd to spread out a bit in the stadium, as well as outside the stadium where it would be less crowded on the routes in and out.

The Mirror says:

"The Premier League are at an advanced stage in talks with the Government over a return for football in June.

Mirror Sport understands there is a tentative agreement for the top flight to resume behind closed doors after the 20 clubs mapped out a plan with senior officials on a resumption of matches.

In principle, with Government health officials hopeful of a coronavirus peak in the UK in the next few weeks, they will sanction games under strict guidelines.

And at an emergency meeting on Friday the plan was discussed at length, with an accord reached in principle on a finish to the Premier League season should the situation improve as expected."

As I said there is a plan in place and now as we head into the critical stage, here is something to look forward to, to get us through the dark days in April.

All that seems to be talked about though is Premier League football, for the rest of the League there are a lot more issues, the number of games is actually the smallest issue, but it is not possible to televise the entire League programme especially in the bottom division where crowds are small, but fans of Newport County or Grimsby Town love their clubs as much as do fans of the Big Six in many cases more, they will face having to miss even the game on TV let alone it live.

The lower divisions have more issues than the Premier League who can throw money at the problem, however given the low attendances it could be that the fans are allowed to return to watching their team earlier than the top two Leagues.

Make no mistake though the Premier League, Football League and the FA have been working in close tandem with the government, Boris Johnson and his merry men will be well aware of the popularity of football and see it as a beacon of hope going forward, something to keep the spirits up and to look forward to, OK not everyone is a football fan, but it its the sport with the biggest market and a large percentage of the population takes at least a passing interest, so it is the best they have.

Truth is if it goes to plan then the timescales between this season ending and the beginning of next season will not be a lot different than they would have been anyway.

Photo: Action Images

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PatfromPoole added 10:39 - Apr 6
Never going to happen with crowds.

saintmark1976 added 11:36 - Apr 6
An interesting speculative perspective on what you think may happen Nick. You appear to base it on the assumption that the disease, the public and the government will perform in a predictable manner. On all three counts the track record to date is not very encouraging. The disease is accelerating rapidly, particularly in city areas. A small, but significant proportion of the public consider that the current lockdown does not apply to them. The government current lockdown is nowhere near as all encompassing as that in Italy or Spain and their disease testing regime appears to be far below that needed to established a reliable exit strategy.

I'm currently minded of the expression "don't count your chickens" as far as any restart date or for that matter on what basis it will be.


Number_58 added 11:51 - Apr 6
It has nothing to do with public safety, or player safety for that matter, or who wins the league or gets relegated, it's purely down to the Premier League being desperate to finish the season so the broadcasters can't withhold their money. I've always wondered what would happen if the money dried up and we may be about to find out.

SaintNick added 13:10 - Apr 6
Interesting comments, the end of the season will be played with crowds, after all we are over 3 months away from the proposed last few games, but the initial games will be played behind closed doors.

Saintmark, you are right the disease is accelerating that has been predicted all along and if we follow the pattern then it will start to decrease, the only question is when the measures will be loosened off a bit.

Till we hit the critical point we can't be sure of anything, but there has to be plans in place, the one disappointing thing is that it is used as a political football with bickering between parties, when we should all be united, there will be plenty of time to debate the strategy when this is over .

Sir Keir Starmer wasted no time to criticise the governments measures, yet if he had been in power he would have been given exactly the same data and advice from exactly the same medical officers, would he have just ignored that and made it up as he went along?

As I said the strategy and planning is very measured all that remains to be seen is if it works

highfield49 added 14:31 - Apr 6
Thank you for your political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party, I had no idea that the country had sufficient PPE for key workers, accessible virus testing facilities, sufficient ventilators to aid all those in need and control over the morons who ignore stay at home advice. This comment comes from a football supporter with a daughter working on the NHS front line. Every day I worry that she is going to contract the virus because she has had so little support. Re-starting the season is a low priority for me.

HythePeer added 15:20 - Apr 6
"If you think that the Government and indeed football do not have a detailed plan and are just winging it from week to week then you are a little naive..." 不不不不不

saintmark1976 added 16:51 - Apr 6
Nick, I've family and many friends and ex colleges who much like highfield49's daughter are at this very moment on the front line doing their very best to keep us all safe and well.With this in mind can I respectfully ask that you set an example by keeping your political views off of what is, after all, supposed to be part of the site solely concerned with the Saints and football?

You may have certain political views regarding the current situation to which you are fully entitled.However,now is not the time and or place to be expressing them. Put simply, your better than that.

saint22 added 17:19 - Apr 6
wow what a party political broadcast that is
this government has handled this scenario in a shambolic way and do you really think that medics and police and safety personnel should be deployed to football grounds all around the country while nurses and doctors struggle on the frontline against this disease?
naivety abounds as you say but a little closer to home

DPeps added 18:14 - Apr 6
Sorry, posted this same comment on an earlier thread, but still relevant...

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.

And without getting too political... What is abundantly clear is that the government had absolutely no prior plan for this pandemic (unlike other countries)

stmichael added 19:18 - Apr 6
To be honest if the government have even spent 1 hour thinking about the resumption of football Id be dissapointed.
It simply doesnt matter.
If clubs lose millions then welcome to the rest of the country NO the world.
To use even 1% of the countrys resources on Playing football matches would be a disgrace.
If one nurse has to treat a single Injured footballer when she could be helping with the crisis it would be scandalous.
Football , owners and players are showing their true colours.
Scrap the season!!!

bstokesaint added 19:43 - Apr 6
Best comment from St Michael in my opinion. This isnt about politics. What we are currently witnessing is truly unprecedented. And what is very obvious is some footballers have been about as far removed from role models as anything during these difficult times. Some have actually been an absolute disgrace and should never represent their country again. I literally couldnt give a sh1t about the Premiership right now. You can call it giving the public something to get excited about, but its really only about the TV money. Id struggle to take satisfaction from football during a time like this. We should only consider it months down the line when there is a clear light on the horizon.

underweststand added 14:06 - Apr 7
A quick reading of the above seems to hang on sveral issues; when can Football resume?, will they be behind closed doors? , and will pubs remain closed?.

The first is obvious ...ASAP
..the second is most desireable from a health perspective , an dit might be intersting to see how the likes of the Liverpool, City and United teams might perform when their
"mega stadiums" are empty and devoid of " fan atmosphere."?

Pubs who full to the doors at match time might still be restricted, but a possible solution to the third question might be solved by the TV companies themselves.
HOW ? ...Some while back, I changed my TV subscription and the supplier let me view all the available channels ..for a trial period until the eventual end of the season.. As the season might only run for 4-6 weeks - TV companies might consider "opening all the channels " at match times, and look to get new subscribers who might otherwise not be regular viewers, and fans coud see games in the "safety" of their own homes.

A win-win situation ..OR... a crazy Idea ?.. but it would allow the season to be properly concluded, avoid mass gatherings that might further increase the health problems, and TV companies might even gain even more customers . Clubs would be able to complete their fixtures, AND avoid the "penalty" of losing their vital TV revenue.


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