This is the question on everybody’s lips at the moment.
A ball hasn’t been kicked in the Premier League since the competition was suspended on March 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is not only football that has been affected by the Coronavirus. Every sport has been affected by the lockdown with the Six Nations championship being postponed, both Super League and NRL competitions being put on hold, and the list goes on and includes cricket, basketball, ice hockey, horse racing and boxing.
Some football leagues are attempting to normalise living with the Coronavirus like the Bundesliga in Germany, but what is happening in England? Will the league resume? Will Liverpool be crowned champions? Will there be any relegation?
All these questions need answering, but more importantly we need to know if it is safe to proceed with live sports again. There is no point in rushing back to find normality, if people’s lives are at risk. Is it worth it?
Return to action in June?
Talks are ongoing about trying to restart the Premier League competition. There are 92 matches still to be played for the 2019/20 season to be officially completed, and at the moment there has not been an official date set.
The FA are determined to complete this season, but they know a lot more planning is needed for this to happen. A date of June 8th has been pencilled in as a possible time to return, but before you get excited, no football will be played in the Premier League until the government and medical guidelines permit. The main thing to take from this is that football will only start up again ‘when it is safe and appropriate’.
What is Project Restart?
Project Restart is a plan to get the season up and running as soon as possible in a safe and appropriate manner. The plan is supported by the government, but some club doctors are unhappy with the plans and have raised a number of concerns about resuming too quickly.
Can the season be scrapped altogether?
Scrapping the 2019/20 Premier League will only be done as a last resort. The FA are determined to have all the remaining Premier League matches played before a new season can commence. If they did cancel the season, not only would they have clubs threatening to sue them because of failed promotions and relegation, but television companies like Sky and BT will want compensation after splashing millions of pounds on exclusive TV rights.
Will Liverpool be crowned the Premier League champions?
When the Premier League season was suspended, Liverpool led the way at the top with 82 points with a record of 27 wins, one draw and just one defeat in 29 matches. They were only two victories away from securing the title when the season was abruptly halted.
Now, a lot of other supporters would find it hilarious if Liverpool were denied their first league title since 1990 due to matters off the field. But that would be seriously unfair.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has already come out and said there is ‘no way’ that Liverpool will be denied the opportunity to win the Premier League. The hope is still that the season will continue and Liverpool will pick up the two wins needed to end the debate once and for all, but until an official statement is released, everyone is still guessing.
Playing behind closed doors?
When the season gets going again – whether it’s the remainder of this one or a fresh one – it is almost certain that no supporters will be allowed to attend games. We will have more answers once the Bundesliga in Germany resumes, everyone will use them as the benchmark on what to do and the picture will become a lot clearer then.
One proposal that has been put on the table, is to play the remaining games at neutral venues. It kind of makes sense, but some clubs are not happy with the situation so no decision has been made.
Later this month, a vote is expected to take place to see if this proposal gets the go-ahead. Fourteen of the 20 Premier League clubs need to vote in favour of it to be given the green light. At the moment, Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa are against the idea because they believe they should have home advantage for their home games in their fight against relegation.
You might argue that it doesn’t matter where the games are played because there will be no fans to provide an advantage or disadvantage. The only thing that you can count on during this pandemic, is that you cannot please every single club.
Will the players be fit enough for the restart?
If the Premier League does get the go-ahead to start on June 8th, will the players be fit and mentally ready to return to action? How many weeks will they need to train up to a certain level of match fitness? It is hard to expect them to get back on the field right away after months sitting at home.
A lot of players are training in self-isolation, while there are a number of clubs getting ready to start training together again.
Arsenal returned to training at the end of April, but they have to travel alone to training with no car sharing option allowed. Brighton are taking baby steps in allowing their players back to training, they recently reopened their training complex and players have been allowed access to train.
Chelsea are allowing players who live locally to attend their Cobham training complex, while Sheffield United are letting players train individually at the club as are Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. Wolves will return to training next week.
The squads of Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Southampton and Watford have not returned to full training.
What Can I Be Certain Of?
That when live football is back, FootballTix will be here to get you the best deal on tickets.