Discord among clubs jeopardises the return of football - opinion

I noted recently the discord between clubs that greeted the FA’s farcical null and void decision that affected lower league clubs.

Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 8:31 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 8:34 pm

They haven’t got things all their own way as the Premier League has now weighed in with their own divisive suggestion. Our main concern is that the EFL might follow their lead.

The background is the first tentative suggestions around Europe with regard to the timing of a resumption of football.

SEE ALSO Crawley Town boss John Yems pleased club is showing appreciation to NHS | Why Brighton, Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester City are Premier League's preferred neutral venues | Jahanbakhsh, Maupay, Dunk: We rate Brighton's 15 most impressive Premier League goals this seasonAny proposed dates must necessarily be different as national governments obviously perceive their own nation’s emergence from the pandemic being at different stages.

Will we see Brighton playing at the Amex when football returns?

It is noticeable that virtually every country is showing the degree of positivity that is so lacking in the UK.

League management bodies here are endeavouring to pencil in a start date despite the fact that the Government has done no such thing.

The great logistical exercise that restarting the season will bring should surely be enough for them - but it isn’t.

The suggestion that is most baffling is that the Premier League programme should be completed using neutral venues. Why? What sort of clouded thinking allows such an idea to ever see the light of day?

The reaction of clubs is as expected. Brighton, for example, are concerned about the loss of “home advantage” given that their outstanding fixtures include three home games against top six clubs.

Maybe they have forgotten that the matches will almost certainly be played behind closed doors. Others have viewed it similarly but feel that using a neutral venue might work to their advantage.

The exercise would be a logistical nightmare but the Premier League apparently think that by concentrating matches in the Midlands they would reduce travelling and thus also the risk of spreading the virus.

I know it is only my personal opinion but that idea is nonsensical. Firstly it goes against the basic requirement of trying to complete all the outstanding games in a very short period of time.

That prerequisite would be hampered if the list of available venues was restricted. Also the claim with regard to travel is totally spurious.

Can you picture the players of, say Crystal Palace, hiding behind their masks as they crowd onto the train at Euston on their way to Molineux whilst their opponents, Newcastle United, are acting in the same fashion?

It simply wouldn’t happen.

Think about it, even Crawley Town fans travel by luxury coach on their way to away games. The present nightmare will not go away until the people who make the vital decisions show some degree of common sense.

One other thing. Why was training with coaches banned?

Players can isolate and keep fit on their own but training is ‘work’ for a professional footballer and no club is likely to use methods that could possibly spread the virus within their own squad. It is a totally unnecessary restriction on employment.

*******

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.