We want for nothing more than the return of our beloved Premier League, though we may have to settle for brevity for it to do so.
The English Premier League has languished in a state of limbo ever since its last game on the 9th March. On what was just another day of football, Leicester routed Aston Villa in a four-nil home victory.
Oh, how we should have savoured it.
With the season frozen for the foreseeable future, the Premier League and its sides have been meeting to discuss just how a restart might be formulated.
Despite contrasting opinions and a severe lack of conclusions, today, one has taken a step in the quest to allow footballers back to work:
Premier League trying to get the season finished at all costs – under 45 minute halfs the latest idea#football #PremierLeague #coronavirusuk #lockdown #LockdownExtended #lockdownuk https://t.co/Mq2f2Ct5hH pic.twitter.com/BqFPtqergt
— Jonathon Bright (@jb_1969) May 5, 2020
A drastic proposal to play the league’s remaining fixtures at neutral venues with 30-minute halves is looking increasingly likely.
The thought behind the process is that contact between players would be minimised by less time spent on the pitch – therefore, a lesser risk of contracting COVID-19.
Already, the prospect has been received poorly:
Under 45 minute halves possible, games to be played at neutral venues. These ideas detract from the integrity of the Premier League. If it cannot be played properly and safely, don’t do it
— Alex Oldland (@AlexOldland) May 5, 2020
Premier League matches could last less than 90 minutes when the season resumes, according to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor.
No way, if it’s not 90mins. It’s not football. English FA should goan sleep.
— MikeThePundit (@Mike_ThePundit) May 5, 2020
Such opinions amongst supporters online have been fueled by the English league’s distinct lack of consideration for players’ health, viewed by many as the loss of football’s very integrity.
Clamouring for a restart despite conditions far from safe to do so, certainly speaks volumes of the EPL’s desperation to finish the campaign. This update following news from France last week in which their top-flight division was cancelled and champions, PSG, crowned.
You have to wonder, is football worth being played despite being so stripped of its charm?
Fan atmosphere makes for player grit and determination, while the 85th minute mark signals tired legs and frantic conclusions. Without these, we’re left with but a shell of the sport we love.
The PFA’s Garry Richardson provided further insight into the proposal this Tuesday morning:
PFA chief Gordon Taylor tells Garry Richardson on @BBCr4today just now that one idea being proposed for Project Restart is “games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way”…!
And no matches until mid-June earliest pic.twitter.com/PqMrPYO6g6
— Dan Roan (@danroan) May 5, 2020
Ultimately, such discussion look set roll on with no end in sight.
Though the question lingers: if you rush to a finish line, brought forward to ease your passage, did you ever truly complete the race?
Table-topping Liverpool fans will say yes. Others, perhaps not.