PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS TO VOTE ON 30TH JUNE DEADLINE
BY Paul Seaton
With a hiatus of five weeks already having passed, the Premier League teams will meet on Friday April 17th to discuss the possibility of either ending the season on 30th June or declaring the current season to be complete by that date.
With the Premier League suggesting earlier in the week that they won’t have a fine of over £300 million applied to them for reneging on games being broadcasted, there has been some suggestion that the lifting of this potential punishment makes it more likely that one of two options will be used as the summer approaches with no apparent end in sight to the cessation of the suspensions put in place by the threat of COVID-19.
A deadline of June 30th would see several contractual situations come to a head, with several Premier League players such as Chelsea wing-forward Willian being out of contract by that time. A rolling contract to finish the season was one suggestion for players in such contract run-off situations, but how long can that rolling situation go on? Would the players need to be paid throughout that time if football has been declared unsafe to play in the current conditions?
Public movement towards the possibility of Premier League football taking place behind closed doors has changed slightly, with the overall feeling that ‘proper football’ would only comprise of fan-attended games looking like more and more of a forlorn hope in recent weeks.
As well as player contracts, there are a whole raft of changes which click over from the end of June like the slow-motion calendar page turning in Groundhog Day, just without the ability to turn back time. Shirt sponsors will change, merchandise and advertising deals alter and dates planned for the 2020/21 Premier League season – something that overtakes the current season in importance with every day that passes.
The Premier League have been forward-thinking in a lot of ways, offering fans advice on how to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak and reaching out to help the NHS and community of football fans in many ways.
Over the next few meetings, the Premier League must hope clubs are equally helpful in trying to end the current stand-off that will only end once both sides back down on their ideal scenario. The fact of the matter is that there is no ideal scenario, only a series of compromises that will disappoint both sides but provide a solution that goes some way to helping everybody.
From teams at the top of the league such as Liverpool to those fighting relegation like Aston Villa, every Premier League club has a vested interest in completing a season that is over 70% through its natural course. But the current crisis dictates that clubs can’t put normal feelings upon a situation that is anything but.
In whichever manner the current season is ended, the announcement that the 20 clubs will meet, with a likelihood that around 14 or 15 will need to agree for something to be passed suggests two things. First, there are such disparities between clubs that a higher percentage of majority would be difficult to achieve and second, something needs to be confirmed soon so that contingency plans can be made for the forthcoming season, because that is something that is clear now.
The 2020/21 Premier League season is under threat too.