The Football Association (FA) recently confirmed that all professional football in England, including the Premier League, will be halted until at least April 30. In their latest announcement, the governing body said that the postponement will now be “extended ‘indefinitely” will only resume “as soon as it is safe”. At the time of writing, England has over 25,000 cases of COVID-19 with nearly 2,000 deaths.
The FA’s rules and regulations recently claimed that “the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June” and “each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season’. However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.
The last Premier League fixture was played by Leicester City against Aston Villa on March 10 and was initially postponed until at least April 4 due to the global pandemic. This indefinite suspension is a huge blow to the champion-waiting leaders of the league table, Liverpool. The Reds are just two wins away from ending their title drought and finally lift the Premier League trophy after 30 years.
According to reports, in order to finish the season, plans for clubs to play televised games in isolated “World Cup-style” camps in the midlands and London are currently being discussed. This set up could allow them to play the remaining 92 fixtures over June and July. However, playing “behind closed doors” still seen as the likeliest solution though the idea of camps has apparently gained interest among clubs.
The idea is to create a “TV mega-event” to increase television ratings and broadcasting profits. The setup of this concept would be similar as the World Cup with clubs and their staff to be placed in separate hotels of the chosen region, equipped with full testing and quarantine conditions. Training ground pitches have been reportedly discussed as possible venues, such as St. George’s Park.
Ideally, the setup will have the entire population staying in their homes and watching the national sport, something that the English government approves as take more drastic measures in attempt to control the spread of virus and flatten the curve of reported cases. The idea also aims “to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19 as even one case could derail the whole plan” according to the report.
So far eight Premier League teams – Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Watford, Bournemouth, West Ham and Everton – have confirmed that they are self-isolating. Previously, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi are English football figured reported to have tested positive for the disease.
Previously, Europe’s top domestic soccer leagues were halted indefinitely as Europe was declared to be the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Earlier this month, the UEFA Euro 2020 and CONMEBOL Copa America was already announced to be postponed for a year due to the global pandemic.