What to do with Premier League Football? - Option 1
When should the season resume? Should it resume at all?
With Premier League clubs recently making it known they are committed to finishing the 2019-20 campaign, it begs the question: What is the ideal way to resume the season? When should players begin training and how long should they train for? What happens if the season simply cannot be finished due to health concerns?
In this 3 part article, I discuss options that would see the Premier League eventually resume its 2019-2020 campaign and finish the season. I also talk about reasons why that may not happen and what to do if the season is eventually declared null and void.
Here is Option 1:
Option 1 - Finishing the Premier League Season Before June 30
Player Contracts & Transfer Windows
When evaluating options involving the resumption of the ‘19-’20 campaign, we must first talk about player contracts. Contracts end on June 30, with new ones beginning on July 1. I am far from a lawyer but I have a feeling it would be a messy situation if clubs try to extend contracts beyond the planned June 30 end date.
Assuming these end dates will remain, I make the argument that the season must end before June 30 so as to prevent squads from losing players in the middle of a campaign.
You may then ask if it is possible for the season to resume after July 1. If player contracts end on June 30, resuming post July 1 would inherently change the nature of squads in the middle of the season. Doing so outside the confines of a transfer window is simply not right.
Another thing to think about is when would the transfer window occur? It cannot occur before the season ends as teams in and hovering around the relegation zone would be uncertain of their Premier League status, thus affecting who they will be able to sign. Therefore, resuming the season post July 1 would mean that players out of a contract on June 30 would be without a job and could not join another club for months. I doubt players would go along with that.
If player contracts end June 30, the season must resume and finish by June 30.
What needs to occur for this to happen?
No FA Cup or European Competition:
If the season were to resume and finish by June 30, it is safe to say the league would be under a tight deadline. Therefore, we will need to make the assumption that the FA Cup and all European competitions are cancelled. This would allow PL clubs to focus solely on league play.
Sufficient Training Period:
Kevin de Bruyne and other players have mentioned that they would need to train 3-4 weeks before playing a competitive match so as to raise match fitness and prevent injury. Let’s say, for the sake of this discussion, they will need to train 3.5 weeks before playing competitively
Sufficient Playing Period:
The season itself would need to last at least 4 weeks given a majority of teams have 9 matches remaining, with some having as many as 10. I think it’s a safe bet that a 4.5 week long season would be sufficient to finish the season.
This means that if the season were to finish by June 30 (let’s say June 28th, the last Sunday in June), training would need to occur no later May 3rd.
Option 1 Pros and Cons
Season would get played out in full. A true champion would be crowned and European places fully earned.
The timeline is tight. Not only would players’ health be compromised due to a higher chance of injury, but the earlier players get back to training with their clubs, the higher the risk of spreading Covid-19.