As French Football Closes Down For 2019-20, Should We Be Next?Peter Houghton
The French Ligue 1 & Ligue 2 are the latest mainstream football competitions to be withdrawn from the calendar following similar decisions in Belgium and Holland. The French leagues are probably 5th in the European prominence line behind England, Germany, Spain and Italy, so this is a major decision in terms of the game across the continent.
The French government has effectively called time on all sporting events until a time which would be well into next season. The original intention had been to restart football in France on 17 June.
Germany had appeared to have fixed a pathway to restarting from 9 May. The Bundesliga officials claim to be ready for the conclusion of their competition to take place without spectators but they face tough opposition from the German government who fear a second spike in Covid-19 cases.
So, how about us? Clearly the Premier League and EFL would like to see their competitions finished and this can only realistically take place with empty stadiums. With around 350 personnel needed to run the match, is it realistic for everyone to be tested before every match? How would social distancing work out on the field of play? Would players have to wear masks? The questions are endless.
Are the authorities really believing that, for instance, no Liverpool fans will head to Anfield for the Crystal Palace match if they beat Everton? Or if they were to drop a point will Liverpool fans flock to the Etihad for the next round of matches? Will there be issues in Manchester city centre?
The FSOA has been leading the way in helping our colleagues prepare for post C-19 football, if you look at John’s Coronavirus risk Analysis plus the points raised by me in a newsletter article in March, but are the PL & EFL trying to chase an unrealistic ace? We all understand the financial situations surrounding the leagues and clubs, but is the risk of one player or official ending up deceased due to Coronavirus worth the financial considerations?
I’m hoping to create a discussion article for our next newsletter so, please, let me have your views. I will keep them “anonymous” if you prefer.