There are 91 unplayed, unplayable Premier League games standing in the way of chaos and normality right now.
Coronavirus has flipped the world of sport on its head, and the bodies that govern the beautiful game are yet to formulate a viable solution.
Anything short of completely voiding the 2019/20 season is likely to cause a tremendous headache for organisers, though that may be preferable to the seismic eruptions – from the cities of Leeds and half of Liverpool in particular – should the season be cancelled outright.
RadioTimes.com presents three options for how the 2019/20 Premier League season can be concluded without resorting to cancelling or voiding the season – which would you most like to see take place?
Convoluted? Maybe. Utterly desperate to avoid the inevitable legal battles that would certainly follow total cancellation or finishing as things stand? Absolutely.
Plan A – Just… wait
The simplest solution would be to simply resume play once it is safe to do so.
Using the premise that (plucking a month out of the air) large gatherings are able to resume from June, simply kick off the season again from then, perhaps after a warm-up game or two for each side behind closed doors.
Euro 2020 appears doomed, meaning matches can take place over the summer until 2019/20 is complete, Liverpool win the title and three sides are relegated in belated fashion.
Nine weeks would take us to approximately the initial start date of the 2020/21 season in early August.
Take two months off as a delayed off-season, then kick off the Premier League 2020/21 in November.
Scrapping the League Cup for one season only may be necessary collateral damage to allow the Premier League season to be squeezed into a month less of action, with the season to finish around June 2021.
Of course, that would leave the idea of Euro 2021 in tatters… It’s time to get creative…
Plan B – Mini league and a half season
Officially postpone the 2019/20 season until a specific date, let’s say July once the virus has peaked and is on the way out.
The Premier League can release a full new schedule for the remaining nine gameweeks that can be played back-to-back and unspoiled, ending in timely manner a week before the early September international break.
Players could be given a month off, leaving six weeks to fill until Christmas.
*MINI LEAGUE KLAXON*
The Premier League can host a one-off mini league with a huge name sponsor looking to boost their profile in the aftermath of the outbreak.
The mini league can operate in any way, teams can be cut into smaller groups, however they want to operate it, but all sides will have six games in the bag to take them through to the start of December.
Players take a break in December, and kick off the official 2020/21 Premier League season starting on Boxing Day with one of the greatest days of football we’re likely to witness. Imagine it…
The 2020/21 season would then be halved – yep, straight down the middle, a 19-game season with the home and away games determined by sheer chance.
This would mean the Euros can be played next summer and once summer 2021 comes around, all disruption has cleared.
Is it radical? Absolutely, but shaking up a Premier League that many are branding sterile could inject new life into it.
Plan C – Calendar year seasons
Of course, once 2020 is out of the way, mopped up in a fashion of the Premier League’s choosing, the controversial chance to switch into a calendar year system becomes available.
Who knows whether there’s an appetite for the 2020 Premier League season as opposed to 2020/21, and who knows whether this should be a permanent change, but the Premier League wouldn’t be the only division to operate in a calendar year fashion.
This may be a far-fetched plan (because everything else suggested above is clearly do-able with ease…) because without the support and transition of every other league in Europe, the Premier League would run out of kilter with international and European club tournaments.
However the Premier League’s top brass opts to proceed, their final decision is extremely unlikely to satisfy all parties, many will be devastated with the outcome, whether it be fans of teams primed for trophies, promotion or simply just outstanding achievers.
Maybe thinking outside the box, a creative solution, is the way forward. The logistics would be a nightmare, but surely that’s a price worth paying to avoid courtroom battles and a damaging blow to credibility?