The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken over everything.
Sporting events we thought we could never live without have been postponed.
The last time major sporting activities came to a halt globally dates back to 1939 during the outbreak of the Second World War.
Flash forward 2020 – Major sports events in the world have either been postponed or canceled, due to the rapid increase of Covid -19.
In the past week, sports enthusiasts have witnessed the gradual decrease of their favourite games, with football and basketball fans among those suffering the most.
The penultimate stages of these developments forced professional footballers to play games in empty stadiums, in what soccer bodies referred to as ‘behind closed doors’.
England’s Premier League, which has a broad fan base was the latest football tournament to be postponed, with questions lingering over whether the current campaign will continue as scheduled once the outbreak is contained.
At present, football authorities in the UK plan to resume proceedings on April 3.
“The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until Friday 3 April at the earliest. This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus,” said the FA on Friday, March 13.
Among the questions football fans are asking is what will happen should containing Covid-19 take longer than expected.
According to The Evening Standard’s James Robson, there are a number of options the Premier League could adopt to decide the current season, one which is voiding/nullifying it.
Robson argues even though voiding the current season would deprive Liverpool of a first league title in 30 years, teams like Arsenal and Tottenham would tremendously benefit.
In his article, he says any other decision besides completing the current campaign would face fierce opposition from some clubs. But since a resolution has to be reached, it has to be one that is met with the least resistance.
Should a vote be taken on whether or not to nullify the league, Robson explains it would require 14 clubs to execute any changes.
Should this happen, clubs that face relegation, i.e. from Newcastle in 13th to Norwich at the bottom could be spared.
Tottenham, now under Jose Mourinho could directly qualify for the Champions League, having finished fourth last season.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal would also see themselves return to the Champions League. They finished 5th last season under Unai Emery and with Man City’s European ban still alive, it’s a chance for the Gunners to get the easy way in.
Robson also talks of how a decision to void the league would face stiff opposition from the top seven teams.
Voiding the league would mean second-placed Leicester City would have to give up a coveted Champions League spot, having finished 9th in the previous campaign. It would also mean Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United, who are 6th and 7th respectively, forget about their current push for a European football spot.
Manchester United would feel the hardest done by if the league is nullified considering the form they carry – 11 games undefeated in all competitions. Fans feel the club can make it to next season’s Champions League should they remain 5th and Man City’s ban upheld. They also could face a sponsorship pay cut as they currently have a deal with Adidas.
Chelsea would not be affected as much and would return to the Champions League.
Man City face the scenario of not ‘relinquishing their title’ should the league be voided. They will have qualified for the Champions League amid uncertainty over the European ban.
So who benefits the most should the Premier League be voided?