The Premier League must restart

Today will see all 20 Premier League clubs meet and give their opinion on the ‘Project Restart’ proposals.

Although clubs will not have to give a formal vote, they must have a majority of 14 to decide on one of the proposals which will see the Premier League return.

The aim is to begin playing matches behind closed doors from June at neutral venues.

However, many clubs are against this idea and believe that relegation should be scrapped as it damages the competition’s integrity.

Karen Brady.

Why neutral stadia is insignificant

The idea of playing games behind closed doors is used as a punishment in normal times, while a neutral venue is normally used for a special occasion.

But these are not normal times.

There are some reports which suggest that fans will not be able to attend matches for the remainder of 2020.

As all matches have to be played behind closed doors, it really doesn’t matter that the games will take place at a neutral venue.

With no supporters present giving the home side an advantage, it is irrelevant whether the games is played behind closed doors in the club’s stadium or elsewhere.

Clubs such as Brighton say they cannot agree to proposals which weaken their chances of staying in the division.

But with no fans for the rest of the year, it would be dangerous to vote against the resumption of this season on those grounds as it could affect starting next season.

Old Trafford.

Money is at the root of everything

At last week’s Premier League meeting one of the only things to be decided was the cancellation of their youth team’s seasons.

This falls in line with football below the National League which saw their seasons cancelled last month.

If any football is being cancelled in England, then the Premier League should theoretically follow suit.

But it won’t. And it can’t.

Parish’s common sense

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has given the clearest explanation in regards to the financial threat posed to the Premier League if it does not restart.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Parish said: “It’s the least worst option. Next season, in all likelihood, we’ll start with neutral grounds.

“We already know that we’re seriously damaged, we’ve got no crowds, the sponsorship market is largely gone, there is no food or hospitality revenue, the only thing we have left for some time is the broadcast revenue.

“Right now, we have no visibility past August for any revenue. It’s a serious situation for football.”

It’s hard to imagine clubs in England’s highest division struggling for money when their overall TV deal equates to £2.8billion.

Yet these deals are signed over a period of three years and paid for in separate instalments, so many clubs have already spent money which they haven’t received.

Curtailing this season could cause all sorts of problems with the league’s plethora of broadcasters, which are effectively holding the league together at the moment.

It’s not morally right to restart

The United Kingdom has surpassed 31,000 Coronavirus-related deaths and there is nothing about that figure which makes the Premier League returning ethically correct.

On Friday 8th May there were a further 4,649 new cases, despite the country being in lockdown since Monday 23rd March.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation to explain his ‘roadmap‘ out of lockdown.

It is rumoured that specific points or dates will be used to guide the country back to normality.

The proposed restart of the Premier League in mid to late June will fall in line with Johnson’s policy for that time.

Past the peak

The UK’s deadliest day was on Wednesday April 8th, where it has been revealed that 1,413 people lost their lives across all settings.

A month on, and this figure has fallen to 626.

We are now well past the peak and Johnson is rightly looking at a gradual lifting of the lockdown.

It isn’t morally right for the Premier League to restart while there is even one new daily death due to the Coronavirus.

But football is now a business, and if fans want to return to something close to what was normal when they’re allowed back into stadiums, then it must be treated as such.

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