‘TV Mega-Event’ solution could see Liverpool crowned champions
Premier League bosses are believed to be considering plans to use ‘World Cup-style’ training camps to help clubs complete the season during the coronavirus isolation restrictions.
A report in The Independent claims that plans are being developed to allow the remaining fixtures to be completed ‘behind closed doors’ while protecting the safety of the players, officials and supporters.
Liverpool were on the brink of a first Premier League title when the season was suspended on the 13 March, and with the European and relegation places still undecided there would be huge logistical issues if they were not able to finish the season.
There would also be financial implications if the remaining fixtures could not be played due to the league’s lucrative broadcasting agreements. In 2019 the Premier League secured a record-breaking £9billion three-year broadcasting deal which committed the league to providing a certain number of televised games each season. Clubs and the Premier League as an organisation are unlikely to have the funds available to repay the deal if the games are cancelled, especially without gate receipts and other match-day revenue for the foreseeable future.
The reported plan would allow the league to conclude the remaining fixtures with clubs isolated in individual camps and is hoped to offer both a sporting and financial solution. The plan would see multiple games played every day as is done during the group stages of the World Cup.
The Independent has reported that all 92 remaining games could be televised during the summer months in what would constitute a “TV mega-event”. Not only would it provide the pre-agreed content that broadcasters would demand, but the government believe that the abundant availability of Britain’s national sport could act as a morale boost during a period of continued isolation.
Analysis piece on last night's news story and the PL's plans - and the logistics, merit and, most importantly, ethics of the plan— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) March 30, 2020
It feels like football really should wait and see then play when safe
Pressure means it won't. Circumstances may force it tohttps://t.co/SNKZQAaWzB
This solution is believed to have gained traction amongst Premier League clubs following a statement made by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin last week. The head of the European governing body announced that they had three plans; “to restart in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If then we wouldn't be able to do any, the season would probably be lost".
This news would have struck fear into the hearts of Liverpool fans with the prospect of voiding the season a nightmare scenario for all associated with the club.
The Premier League’s ‘World Cup-style’ proposal would at least guarantee that the remaining games can be played and the Reds would be crowned champions, but it would take some of the gloss off what has been a sensational season from Jürgen Klopp’s men.
The remaining games would almost certainly be played in the Midlands or London so there would be no Anfield celebrations, and continued isolation measures would likely prevent any city-wide victory parade as was seen after the Reds won their sixth European Cup last May.
It remains to be seen whether this solution will be a viable option, but it appears increasingly likely that some creative thinking will be needed to bring the 2019/20 Premier League season to a satisfactory conclusion.
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