The continued spread of the coronavirus is affecting businesses everywhere and football clubs certainly aren’t immune, so the news that both the English Premier League and English Football League seasons may not be able to be completed because of the pandemic shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise.
The fact is that no one really knows when the 2019/20 season can legitimately be finished, and with that in mind, the FA Chairman Greg Clarke has also admitted it may not actually be possible to finish the campaign at all.
“We live in uncertain times and our priority is to support the Government’s public health initiatives,” his statement, detailed in the Daily Express, began.
“The wellbeing of all of us, and especially our most vulnerable members, must be our focus and the Government’s instructions regarding social distancing are our route to safety. However, football needs to pay attention to the economic effects of the pandemic as well as rigorously following public health guidance.
“Football, like many other sectors of the economy has been hit hard by effectively closing down its business […] We face the danger of losing clubs and leagues as finances collapse. Many communities could lose the clubs at their heart with little chance of resurrection.
“In the face of this unprecedented adversity, all the stakeholders within the game from players, fans, clubs, owners and administrators need to step up and share the pain to keep the game alive […] Those that lost their clubs because English football did not rise to the challenge would rightly judge us harshly.”
His words, and their tone, have left no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation, and no room for them to be manipulated. Such an unprecedented situation will potentially need to be dealt with by unprecedented solutions.
The knowledge that the football pyramid faces a very real risk of collapse can’t be brushed away as mere scare-mongering, particularly when the clarion call has come from one of the most senior figures in the game.