Last Thursday, representatives of the 20 Premier League clubs and league representatives held an emergency meeting at Brunel Building in Paddington, London through a video conference. The theme was very clear: reassessment in the context of the spread of the epidemic and the epidemic The postponement of English football matches.
Everyone can't see each other, it's just that the names of these delegates from all over England will appear on everyone's computer screen, but this has not stopped everyone from discussing the impact of the current epidemic crisis.
Before the meeting began, some representatives had doubts about this, and even thought they would be involved in factional struggles, but on the contrary, everyone was very united and friendly. Under the auspices of Premier League interim chairman Claudia Arni, everyone finally agreed to extend the suspension of the league to April 30 and try their best to complete the rest of the season.
Of course, there are other topics that need to be discussed, but we can read out some valuable content through the theme and basic mediation of this meeting. Below, The Athletic will answer some questions related to the content of the conference that many fans care about.
A source said that the Premier League may not officially resume on this day. Regarding the timing of restarting the league, the club can accept to continue to postpone it for a certain period of time, but must give a relative structure to the operation of the game. Interpretation and boundaries.
Judging from the current plan on the table, April 30 is enough. "Now you can give the players 3 weeks off", a representative said. "If you push back a week, then everyone cannot guarantee that everything can be restored in an orderly manner.
Another participant said that he felt that the Premier League would try its best to restore the league before the end of May, even if the game had to be closed-although they unexpectedly did not discuss this situation in the meeting. specific problem. Some clubs privately believe that this unprecedented period requires very stringent measures.
Although we can only determine the details of the league’s resumption of operation after we understand all the negative effects of the new crown virus, everything today can only be based on the speculation of the decision-makers. From the perspective of physical condition, in this long-term league After the interruption, players may only need to rest for 2 weeks during the summer break, instead of 6 weeks as usual.
Regardless of whether the results this season is good or bad, everyone hopes to resume the game as soon as possible. The only question may involve the transfer market, whether the club can accept to reduce the operating time of the transfer window.
This topic is indeed discussed, because some representatives realized that the issue of summer transfers may be confused without official clarification. The relevant terms of the players’ contracts will be activated before a specific date. Normally, this time is the center of May. However, due to the special circumstances of this season, some clubs will not be able to determine whether the team will be relegated and the budget for next season. Unable to give a definite decision.
In the three weeks before the next meeting, everyone will have more detailed discussions on this issue. In this meeting, one of the related suggestions is that, as long as the professional players' union allows it, the relevant dates in the player's contract can be postponed with the postponement of the calendar.
"Everyone thinks that a way to go with the flow is needed," a source said. "In fact, we can modify the terms of the contract so that the originally indicated May can be postponed to June, July or even August. Of course, this requires the agreement of all parties to the contract, but everyone seems to agree. We all It is more or less affected by the epidemic, so as long as the new regulations do not benefit anyone, then in my opinion, people will think this is a wise decision."
In this meeting, everyone unanimously delivered the message that the 2019-20 season must end in accordance with the schedule.
Woodward, who represented Manchester United at the meeting, had the sharpest attitude in this regard. In his speech, he said that even if the league is postponed to September or October, it should be a fair way to complete the league according to the schedule. Maybe someone would think about something, but Woodward did not suggest anything in his statement to prevent Liverpool from winning the first league championship in 30 years.
Of course, a major reason for the formation of all parties is the large-scale liquidated damages that may be encountered if the season is not completed. Delegates have been told that if there is a reduction in the season, Sky Sports and BT Sports will require the rebate of a total of £762 million in broadcast fees under normal broadcast conditions. After all, reducing the season means violating the TV broadcast contract.
当然，形成所有当事方的主要原因是，如果季节未完成，可能会遇到大规模的违约金。代表们被告知，如果赛季减少，在常规转播条件下，Sky Sports和BT Sports将要求退还总计7.62亿英镑的转播费。毕竟，减少季节意味着违反了电视广播合同。
A source said
"This sense of belonging makes us need to unite to solve problems," a source said. "Financial issues are a huge motivation."
However, this is not related to greed. "Fundamentally speaking, we are nothing more than a profitable company," said a Premier League representative. "If the cash flow dries up, then we are no different from today's hotels and other industries. If we don't have a game, we won't get revenue. If we can't complete the entire season, then this will cause very serious problems.
Another club representative said: “The financial loss does not seem to affect the players of the first team, but it will affect the club staff such as the receptionist and the staff restaurant staff. These people will face the risk of leaving. The contractors and Individual businesses that rely on clubs to operate will also be affected. When you can't get income, they are the first to be affected.
"What people need to realize is that large clubs also have huge expenses. What you usually involve is not hundreds of thousands of pounds, but on the order of hundreds of millions of pounds. This can have disastrous effects."
West Ham United high-level Kelly Brady and Brighton high-level Paul Barber have both warned whether this season can be completed due to the uncertainty of the scale of the epidemic.
For example, if football matches cannot be resumed in July or later due to the epidemic and other reasons, then the arrangements for the remaining 9 league rounds and a reasonable time point for the start of the new season will become questionable.
Brady previously pointed out in the "Sun" column that the only fair and reasonable way in the face of this possible reduction in schedule is to declare this season invalid. But if this is the case, this will inevitably lead to legal litigation issues for the Premier League to upgrade the popular teams, especially Leeds United and West Bromwich.
There was no discussion about the league rankings in this meeting. Although everyone abandoned the selfish side in the discussion, obviously if the league ends early and the current ranking decides to downgrade the team, then this will also lead to the current position. The teams in the relegation zone resisted by legal means.
Not so. The meeting also talked about the club's responsibility to the fans and the community in such difficult times. "Football is a way to release people's pressure," a source said. "Everyone will feel bored, boring, and even crazy. For people, live TV football matches are a good medicine for mental life."
"It would be very spectacular," Neville previously said on Sky Sports. "When we finally get rid of the epidemic crisis, football can bring hope and joy to people in the entire country."
Although Neville's idea is well-intentioned, the source said the possibility of his trip is very small. Neville has done everything in his career as a player, but modern football is different from the era he was active in. The professional players union will also evaluate the physical load on the players.
"In that case, I would really be stunned," a representative said. "I think the clubs will not agree. This will expose the players to the risk of injury. Whether it is Manchester United or Accrington, no one wants to finish the schedule as soon as possible. The players will experience Achilles tendon tears due to excessive fatigue. Split and a long truce."