Like many folk at the moment, I am missing football and desperately hoping that this lockdown works. The sooner this virus does one, the better.
There’s been lots of suppostion about what’s going to happen when we get through this. When will the domestic leagues restart, if they will restart at all. What’s going to happen to the Chumpions League and the Europa (Nohopers) League? What about Euro 2020? As Yul Brynner said in the King and I, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Let’s start at the very beginning (another musical nod – Julie Andrews). It seems like a lifetime ago now, when those Champions League games in Europe were being threatened with playing behind closed doors and they started going on about the impact on the English clubs. Then I think it was Arteta who got it first and Calvert Lewin of Everton. Then a week later, they got better and everyone was saying that it was a storm in a teacup (probably didn’t help that the WHO (World Health Organisation) said there was no evidence of human to human transmission).
How VERY wrong we were.
Then the Premier League said they were thinking of cancelling games, then the EFL said they might do too, and then all other sporting events started to get worried. Even I thought it was because all these professional sportsmen were getting a bit precious and that the Primadonna League were worried that Liverpool might NOT win the title….
How VERY wrong I was.
Soon, it became very clear how severe this was and how small and insignificant our fears about not getting promoted were. Dwarfed by the possibility that there may not even be a next season. By the way, my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible epidemic, and to those who are risking their lives every day, not just those in the NHS and the emergency services, but those truckers, farmers, fishermen, shop workers, bin men and volunteer workers who are putting other people’s lives in front of their own, and keeping the country running.
This blog is about football though. But even then, there are some parallels to be drawn.
These are uncertain times, but there should be no doubt at all that the season needs to be completed.
Why? Simply put? There is no reason why we can’t.
Our domestic leagues can always be completed regardless of how long it is postponed. Plus, how great it will be to be playing in June – just like being at the Euros then!
Euro 2020 has been cancelled. We can just play when we should have been in that competition. To be honest, we might be playing longer than the England team would have been anyway! Euro 2020 would have finished 1st week of July, so plenty of time before the new season starts. Leeds have 9 more league games to play. That can easily be squeezed into 4 weeks playing Saturday and Wednesday. The FA Cup can be sorted in a week. You can play the quarters at the weekend, the semi finals during the week (one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday) and the final at Wemberley on the Sunday. The players should be desperate to play, given that they haven’t done anything for the best part of three months.
Yes, sorting the tickets will be a logistical nightmare, but given how much sport will be crammed into such a short length of time, it might well be that the corporate lot will have so much to choose from (Wimbledon, Grand Prix, rugby, golf, cricket, athletics) that there may actually be more tickets for normal fans to go round! Woo hoo!
As for the Chumpions League and Eurhopeless League, well we’ve known for ages that these tournaments have been drawn out for advertising and revenue purposes for years. When it was just a proper knock out competition, it was a decent Champions League, but with all these group stages it just got tiresome. Especially when they took it off terrestrial TV. Bad enough when they moved it to SkyTVisf**kings**t (and Setanta!!!), but when BT took it over it went completely downhill. Is there anyone who actually watched the group stages? Can anyone, hand on their heart, honestly tell me that they know if they are in the last 16 yet or whether they are still in the group stages? I have just been told they are definitely in the knockout stages! But instead of it taking just two weeks to sort, they had been drawing it out over 4 and that is the reason why the FA Cup replays have disapppeared.
UEFA won’t let any televised top flight football (our domestic cups) be up against the Chumpions and the Nohopeless League, so our domestic tournaments have been playing second fiddle to UEFA because we are kowtowing to the corrupt wasters. FIFA and UEFA are so desperate to have their own competitions made up of the “top” sides in the world, not for the good of football, but for the money that they can generate in advertising and corporate revenue. There is so much money to be made in which to line their pockets.
Although this pandemic is an unprecedented event, it just goes to show the fraility of their “big” plans to accommodate and allocate tournaments to the will of the highest bidder. Football is the sport of the common man, always has been, and until FIFA and UEFA finally put an end to it, always will be. By allocating the World Cup to Qatar, hardly a country with any developmental needs (like in South Africa) or a country who will benefit from it (Brazil), they broke with tradition. It used to be that they alternated it between Europe and South America. Then they wanted to expand and do an Asian one and an African one, hence Japan and South Africa. They did Russia and no doubt they’ll be an Australasian one as well. All great footballing nations, Qatar???
I can see the problem with the Nohopers League, seeing as they start the group stages in June, but then they just need to reduce it just for one season. This season was the first that the Primadonna League had a “winter break” to “rest” their players, but it mucked up the FA Cup and some teams belittled the tournament by fielding their under 15s. But all of these things can be worked out, and if the leagues start a week late, who cares? Euro 2021 will still be on.
Let’s hope they can all see reason once this is over and done with.