Is it all over bar the shouting? Well, according to some newspapers this morning, lower league sides may not complete their fixtures after all. This may be the spring season but it is certainly not the football season! Already in the Netherlands, Belgium and in France, their league campaigns have been declared null and void, and even our beloved Premier League is seriously under threat.
In an article that was published today in the Daily Mail, players who are employed below the Championship have been told that the chances of the current season ever being finished are fading fast. With Premier League chief executives due to meet to discuss ‘Project Restart’ tomorrow, the EFL is in a sorry state. Their board met yesterday and club captains and PFA representatives have been told to relay to their team-mates the very real possibility of no more football being played this season, according to this tabloid.
There are contingency plans in place for the Championship clubs, however, which do not necessarily apply to League One and League Two. In an article in The Guardian today, it states that The English Football League’s preferred option for promotion from the Championship would be to promote Leeds and West Brom, who are clear in first and second place, and to play the play-offs as per current positions to determine the final spot if the season cannot be completed as planned.
The Championship occupies a midway house between the Premier League and the lower leagues, and it is confident of finding ways to finish the season, but League One and League Two, have a different set of priorities and their best efforts may not be enough. Games at this level are rarely televised live and playing behind closed doors would have a massive impact on their financial health.
In theory, at least, the EFL is still officially committed to completing all three of its divisions with its remaining 113 matches played over 56 days behind closed doors, with a June 6th start date provisionally planned. Players are expected to return to their clubs for a mini-pre-season on May 16th but the chances of this happening are looking increasingly unlikely.
Personally, I would like this season to be voided and not the way things stand. That would be a little unfair, even if there is no relegation. With eight games remaining that means another 24 points to play for, and who is to say that Ipswich Town might not go on a tremendous late surge now that most of our their key players are back in the frame?
Whatever the EFL finally decides, one thing now seems certain. The fat lady is about to sing, and those supporters went home to self-isolate a long time ago.