Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has supported the idea of a packed fixture list of football after the coronavirus epidemic crisis is over.
The Premier League along with all other governing bodes in England confirmed in a statement on Thursday that all games will be suspended until April 30 at the earliest.
However, as noted by BBC Sport, it has been added that the season will be extended indefinitely to allow the remaining games to be played, depending on the crisis, while UEFA’s decision to postpone EURO 2020 this week will have cleared the schedule for domestic leagues to be completed over the summer.
Naturally, as the number of cases and deaths continue to rise, particularly in Europe at this moment in time, the priority is getting a grip on the virus and minimising the number of people impacted by it.
Neville though believes that football will have a crucial role to play in lifting spirits in the country when the crisis is over, and a ‘festive of football’ would be an ideal plan to get all the remaining fixtures played and achieve fair outcomes while giving everyone something to be more cheerful about.
“The last thing I’m worried about is sorting out the fixtures,” he told Sky Sports. “If football players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they’d get their heads around it and make it a festival of football.
“It would be something spectacular. Football can bring some hope and joy to the country when we finally come out of this crisis.
“Doing a festival of football where the league is finished in two weeks, the Champions League gets finished in a week and the FA Cup is finished in four days could be something quite special.
“I’m not saying they are the examples that should be followed, but there could be something quite spectacular about football fans coming together after this crisis is over.
“It would bring some joy back to the nation as football does impact so many people.”
It’s difficult to argue with Neville as it ticks a number of key boxes in terms of lifting spirits around the country and also allowing clubs to finish the season and reach a fair result.
However, it’s always important to stress that this all depends on the coronavirus outbreak, as with the numbers continuing to rise sharply currently on a daily basis, it’s only until we reach the other side of the peak where perhaps football will become a topic of discussion again.
That’s what the suspension until April 30 was for, but hopefully, in the best interests of all concerned, we’ll see the season completed perhaps as late as June or July as some normalcy could return to lives around the world with sports playing a vital role in that.