By Tony Attwood
Next season is due to start on Saturday 8 August.
And according to the standard contracts operated by the Premier League and by the English Football League, players are entitled to “five weeks paid holiday to be taken at a time or times determined by the club – subject to the club’s first team and any international commitments”.
There is also a clause in most contracts that says, “”a club shall not unreasonably refuse to permit the player to take three of such weeks consecutively”.
Now it could be argued that the players are getting a break now, so they won’t need a summer holiday break. But I rather think players are being told to keep themselves fit because the Premier League is only suspended until 3-5 April. That means we then have 20 days to make up before giving players their hols.
The season was originally due to end on 17 May. Add 20 days to that and it ends on 7 June. That gives two months close down until the start of the new season. One month holiday for the players, and then one month back in training. It is just about manageable.
But we also have the Euros which are supposed to begin on 12 June – five days after the season ends in England.
Of course the Euros could be cancelled, although it is not like Uefa to be magnanimous about such things. So Uefa could demand that the leagues are cut short or abandoned. That would mean that yes, Liverpool would win the league. Not an unbeaten season as we know, and no doubles in sight, but they could get that title that they have been struggling to achieve since 1990. But through a shortened season with not all games played. Not a proper season then. Not really a season that everyone would want to count as a season. A season with an asterisk after its name. One that might or might not be counted in the list of titles won, depending on who was doing the counting.
Mind you perhaps we had better hold back on the sniggering because there is also the FA Cup of which we are the record holders in terms of number of wins and in terms of the manager with the most wins. Mr Wenger, of course, can’t increase his number of wins, but Arsenal still can. Will that go ahead?
The point about my ramblings here is that nothing quite works. Even if we get football going again after a minimal break, if every competition is going to be played, there really isn’t time. Which means that the Uefa summer competition has to be the first thing to go. But Uefa isn’t like that. It wants its money.
But anyway, do we really believe that we really are going to start matches again around 3 to 5 April? That doesn’t seem to make much sense. The virus is expected to peak in intensity in about ten to 14 weeks (at least according to the Sun, which knows absolutely nothing as we recently saw, but then no one knows anything about this, so they seem to be a good choice for the source of our information on this topic), which really makes a delay of football matches until 3 to 5 April as pretty pointless.
That takes the peak to the start of June. Allow a few weeks for the peak to pass and we have got to the end of June. Then get the players back in training and yes we can have next season kicking off at the right time. But only if the Uefa competition is cancelled and there is no attempt to finish this domestic season.
In short, Liverpool don’t get to win a proper season, although we can all be thoroughly decent and magnanimous and say that they probably would have won it if it had been played, but, actually, to be precise and exact for the record books, they didn’t.
A bit like Arsenal didn’t have an unbeaten season because we didn’t win the FA Cup, and the League Cup and the Champions League in 2004.
But who goes into the Europa and the Champions Leagues next season? Presumably, we take the current league table as the “final” table (with an asterisk).
But hang on, as we’ve said before, that’s hardly fair since we have played one game fewer than the Tiny Totts, and if we played and won that game we could start rising up the table and get a European position. (Assuming that Manchester City are banned of course).
Actually, when it comes down to it, there is no way at all of working this thing out reasonably while protecting health, other than playing matches without any crowd. Which is ok for the Premier League clubs but what are the smaller clubs going to be doing for money without any gate receipts?
Presumably, their season can go on through the summer since most of their players don’t play in the Uefa summer tournament. So we have League Two games going on at the same time as televised internationals involving England…
Hmmm… I am starting to think this doesn’t work, no matter how we run it, other than cancelling the current season and starting again in August. Sorry Liverpool, but I don’t think you did (will) win the league this season. Bit of a bugger, I know, but, you can run the current league table. With an asterisk.
* Season abandoned.
That’s all right isn’t it?
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