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October 2020
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Start dates for football without plans in place are worse than useless

by Tony Attwood

People who like to think they have power but who actually don’t are prone to making crazy pronouncements which cannot be seen through, without any thought as to practicalities.

It is rather like the fable of King Canute (which is actually the reverse of the truth but is passed on down through English folklore).  The tale is that Canute, believing that as he was king he could make any pronouncement and it would come to pass, had his throne placed at the edge of the incoming tide and commanded the sea to go back.  As one might expect, the revolution of the earth and the placement of the moon had something to say about that and the sea kept on coming.

In fact, Canute was an extremely pious king who was trying to show those who claimed that he could do anything because he was appointed by God were wrong and that God’s laws prevailed over man’s whims.

But reading the pronouncements of the Premier League, FA, Uefa and Fifa it seems that they are stuck in mythical Canute land believing that they can say something, and it happens.

They have got this way of course because by and large everyone from the fans to club chairmen have bowed down to authorities and done what they have said.   The fact that the atrociously corrupt Fifa, or the grotesquely incompetent FA have continued on their merry ways, shows this is so.

Now it seems (according to reports in some British newspapers at least) that Premier League clubs have been told that the 2020/21 season must (MUST, mark you) be started by the first week of September at the very latest.   None of this hanging about and waiting for the virus to go away or for government to give permission, it MUST.   One can just imagine them saying “See to it will you?” and leaving the mere mortals to get on with it as the tide inexorably comes in.

And if that were not enough they have now said that the current Premier League MUST (not just “must” but MUST) be finished with the playing of all the games.

The problem is that in the UK there is no end in sight to the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, and the government has made it clear that although the last extension of the lockdown is for three more weeks that should not be taken as a sign that in three weeks life will return to normal.  When there is a removal of the lockdown it will be through slow stages, and (the government has specifically said) the thought that schools will re-open in three weeks is without any basis.

Indeed in the UK that is the main news this morning on the BBC’s news channel Radio 4.

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This is of course exactly the opposite of the situation in the USA in which President Trump is urging people to disobey the lockdown, something which his supporters are apparently doing with much glee and in large numbers.  Given the power of the virus to spread, such gathering could have quite a devastating effect on the President’s level of support within the country.  When it comes to King Canute, it turns out the President has misread history along with the FA and Premier League.

Back with the football, there has of course been much talk about the idea of playing games behind closed doors.  But seemingly little or no thought about what is done about supporters who insist either on going to the ground in order to stand outside (as we have seen repeatedly in the Uefa Euro finals), or to gather in pubs to watch the games on TV.

Of course the local authorities could issue a plea for supporters not to do this, but can you imagine that having any effect with Arsenal and Tottenham play each other?

Now matters such as this, as you may have noted, simply don’t get debated in the media, apart from the usual mantra that “any plans to restart the season will depend on the government and their social distancing measures.”  As it happens the police are greatly stretched anyway and having to police every pub and gathering of fans around the stadia is unlikely to be possible.

Here’s the timetable:

June: Players resume training at the club training grounds with training staff present.  Transfer window opens.

July:  2019/20 League season resumes for all four divisions, and quite probably the National League and those below it as well, probably with games played behind closed doors.  Plus FA Cup matches to take the Cup through to its Wembley final.

August: Champions League and Europa League matches resume and are played through to the final.

September: Premier League and other English leagues start.

So this means that there needs to be a good test available by June to see if players are free of the virus – and good police control measures to break up large crowds of supporters in places that they should not be – with suitable protective clothing for the police so involved.  The clothing they don’t yet have.

The sadness is that they will probably go ahead with this plan.  That’s what you get from imperial organisations with absolute power and no sense whatsoever.

2 comments to Start dates for football without plans in place are worse than useless

  • One of the things I learnt so far through this COVID-19 virus transmitted sickness is that the love of money has totally blind the world from given importance to life. Sir look everywhere the major force behind forcefully starting football matches is the target of getting more money or not wanting to lose money.the money been made through football is too much of a loose to some people and they are hell bent putting others people life at risk rather than lose the money. Typical example is the WWE universe asking that the name of Roman reigns should be taken off all the script indefinitely Because he refused to take part is the last edition of Wrestelmania due to health issues, this a guy that just escape from lukeminia and it’s well documented that anybody with formal health issue can not survive the attack of Corona virus and yet the company are angry he refused to fight Because of the money they will generate from it. I pray God heal the world but am not expecting fans at any football match till 2021 if they really loved thereselves and family.

  • Gord

    Finishing the season

    I’m taking a pessimistic look at this.

    Nominally teams have 9 games left, which is potentially 27 points. If we add 27 points to lowest placed Norwich, they could conceivably finish the season with 48 points. This is the number of points the Chel$ea currently have in 4th place.

    Supposedly all these games will be played behind closed doors, but will be televised. For some definition of the word televised. PGMO, The Premier League and The (sweet) FA can relegate any 3 teams they choose other than LiVARpool!, Man$ity and Leicester. To relegate any of those 3, they would have to remove points from their accomplishments to date. But PGMO could easily have Bournemouth, AVilla and Norwich finish the season with all wins (and hence avoid relegation) as those 3 teams do not play each other in the remaining games. But to do something like that, the games would likely have to become a farce.

    The way that the field could be tilted that much, is to play the remaining games behind closed doors and have every person who can see the game live sign a non-disclosure. Just to say that all games will be televised, is not sufficient to ensure that the results of these remaining games cannot be “cooked”. If a TV signal for a game has periods where it is not showing live action, that could be times when PGMO is tilting the field. And because it didn’t make the TV stream being broadcast, the only people who would have witnessed the cooking of the game, are the people in attendance (possibly sworn to secrecy). What would be better, is if there are 8 TV cameras at each game, that the game is broadcast over 8 TV channels (one for each camera, all cameras live all the time). What might be workable, is to record the game on 8 tracks with all tracks being live all the time. And then any person could ask for a copy of the recording to analyse for PGMO cooking the result.