Coronavirus: The only thing that's certain is nothing's certain
Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales gave a video-link press conference on Wednesday, briefly opening up the RFEF’s offices to do so and, in the process, requiring a handful of others to go in, too. To be honest, I’m not convinced these kinds of things serve to do much more than fill up empty column inches in the sports press, because, at the end of the day, the only thing that’s certain is that nothing is certain. We’re dependent on the coronavirus subsiding, and we don’t know when that’ll happen; nor are we getting the impression that the authorities, either in Spain or abroad, have much of an idea. Just like other, far more important things - and there are plenty of them - football will return when it can.
The way things are going, the football world is certainly going to have to pull together to find solutions. Personally, for example, I don’t think it’s going to be all that easy to finish off the Champions League and Europa League seasons in a way that deviates from their usual format. The most optimistic scenario is that the virus has died out in time for everything to be played by 30 June, when a lot of footballers are out of contract. I fear that will be very difficult, though. Were we to prolong the season by just one month, until 31 July, we’d still need a widespread show of goodwill to allow expiring contracts to be extended by those four weeks. But even the end of July is starting to look a little bit unlikely, if you ask me…
There have been talks on whether it’d be viable to play matches without fans - an option that's already been turned to - or have three games every seven days. That’s something they used to do in England in the 60s, when pitches were more vulnerable to bad weather and the postponements piled up. It’s good to get these things on the table, but behind closed doors; not with a public airing of views that extends the debate outside the circles in which the issue can be discussed calmly and precisely. Because, whether or not there’s time to finish everything off without venturing deep into the summer months, it’s going to take a lot of skill and teamwork to have all those ducks in a row when football gets the green light.
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