Feature: The Premier League must act fast, or cause mayhem in lower divisions
With the UK 'past the peak' in the ongoing battle with the COVID-19 coronavirus, political attentions are beginning to turn to the 'easing of lockdown' and how to limit the chance of a 'second spike' in infections - something which has left the Premier League with a conundrum.
Shorter games, empty stadiums and a World Cup style football festival have all been ideas put forward amid the madness, with the Premier League potentially faced with '£1 billion losses' if the season is not completed; but their lack of urgency to come to a final decision on whether to void or continue the domestic campaign is causing problems further down the leagues.
Essentially, the other professional English leagues are having to wait for the Premier League to conclude their discussions, obviously placing more financial pressure on clubs, many of whom are still paying their staff, adding further pressure to those who are already struggling during a time where the hospitality sector is on its knees. Furthermore, this could also cause more longterm issues.
One of these 'problems' comes in the form of double relegations. If the different English leagues are to be declared void, no relegations or promotions will take place, however there's a potential for 'double relegations and promotions' to happen the following year to make up for this. In return, with many clubs already harshly hit economically though COVID-19, if more clubs are to be dealt the blow of relegation, it could cause further closures in the long run.
There's already been a wealth of outrage toward the lack of financial support to smaller clubs offered by Premier League outfits (explained in our previous feature), however in a statement to 'Euronews', the Premier League clarified the "overriding priority is to aid the health and well-being of the nation and our communities, including players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters". However, through these 'priorities' they're potentially causing even more issues.
It should be considered though, that if football is to return it could play a major role in the 'second spike' UK government have warned about. In Germany the Bundesliga was due to return on May 11th, but has since been pushed back with cases rising amid a sharp return to normal life, proving the virus will take many more months to fully clear.
If the Premier League are to begin filling stadiums with supporters, this would act as a hotspot for the virus to thrive, potentially risking football for next season also. All of these are issues that must be weighed up, but quickly, before lower league clubs begin to suffer further.