The Premier League is considering plans for a ‘World Cup style’ end to the season in attempts to conclude the 2019/20 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Elite football in the UK is currently suspended until April 30 at the very earliest in a bid to combat the spread of the virus, with the remainder of the season uncertain at present as authorities deliberate if and how the season can be completed.
According to the Independent, behind closed doors fixtures currently seems the ‘likeliest’ and most realistic possibility, though the idea of isolated ‘World Cup-style’ camps in the midlands and London is an idea that has ‘gained increasing traction’ of late among clubs.
One benefit to the idea is the formation of a huge televised event, with each of the remaining 92 games being shown live on television with a handful broadcast each day over the summer months. This would ease the financial concerns around teams, with substantial television money having already been distributed between top-flight sides.
The government are also claimed to be behind the idea in the belief the population’s interest in the national sport will help amid lockdown measures, current instructions which could yet be tightened or even extended.
Football officials are aware that even one case of COVID-19 could derail the plan, with the plans involving players being quarantined in hotels away from their families and games planned for the summer months of June and July when it is likely a more rigorous testing system will be in place.
There are, however, significant concerns with the plans before they can become a reality. Alongside each of the representative clubs, there will also be a need for all officials, cameramen and outside broadcast crews to be confined to quarantine bases, whilst there are also moral issues regarding medical experts.
The presence of medical officials at ‘non-essential’ events and the possibility of serious injury to players is of paramount concern, given the current strain on the NHS amid the coronavirus crisis.
The summer months of June and July are therefore the most likely time for these plans to go ahead, when it is optimistically hoped the curve of the virus will have been flattened and there would be an increased political backing for the Premier League’s resumption.
The report adds that Premier League players are believed to behind the idea of finishing the current season, and the resuming of the season is viewed as potentially the first steps of life getting back to some kind of ‘normality’, aiding the economy by reigniting industries such as advertising and gambling.