surinenglish

A LOOK AT LA LIGA

The masterplan

Euro 2020 has been officially postponed until summer 2021.
Euro 2020 has been officially postponed until summer 2021. / EFE
  • Football's big cheeses are working on a return to action, but no one can know when this is all going to blow over

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were all together on the football terraces instead of staring in isolation into the uncertain distance from the terraces of our homes?

UEFA came up with a plan last week for when the world comes out of the tunnel and football can resume. It's incredibly ambitious as nobody can determine what on earth is going to happen next.

The European championships have been put off until the summer of 2021 clearing the diary for summer 2020.

The grand plan is to get the domestic leagues resumed so that they can be completed by the end of June with the Champions League and Europa League finals being played in the latter days of the month. It's an optimistic strategy and let's hope that it can be instigated.

It would make sense for La Liga to follow the example of the Premier League decision makers who have decided they will ensure the season does reach a conclusion and play won't resume until at least 30 April 30. There is an argument that the contracts of some players end on 30 June, however they have plenty of warning now to thrash out deals with that in mind and it will only affect a minority or unwanted or overly demanding players.

Look on the bright side; it may mean an end to those pointless pre-season tours. Teams could finish in June or July, have a couple of weeks turnaround and get straight back at it again. With the winter break and this enforced layoff, they don't need further absence or fitness training in the summer.

Right now, La Liga season is parked at round 27 with no real idea when round 28 will commence. Footballers, like everyone else, are observing the lockdown. Some clubs, like Valencia and Espanyol, have reported that several of their players have the Covid-19 virus; others, like Celta, have refused the suggestion that footballers should be tested.

I suspect football matches will be played, at least initially, behind closed doors and beamed into homes. This could spark the television transformation whereby most matches will be available via a streaming-type service. There was a strong suggestion that this was the case before the seriousness of the situation was fully realised.

There is no substitute for the matchday experience - a caña and bocadillo in tin foil in Spain, pie and pint in the UK or hotdog and soda in the USA - but we may have to find a compromise.

In the UK Championship, all midweek matches are available online, though Sky has made them available via the satellite box.

Hopefully when the virus has peaked, the footballers, who are among the fittest and healthiest in society will be the first back to work and they can help break the monotony which has already kicked in. Looking at social media, most of them have been keeping active by juggling toilet rolls around the house so they haven't lost total sharpness.

As we seek normality the footballers can see the return to the football pitch as a public service and we can stock up with sunflower seeds and cold beer.