Covid-19 & the 2019-20 season (or, Can a rabona inspire us?)

dirtynine

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67YAZ

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I’ve got tickets to the Chicago Fire’s home opener & return to Soldier Field. Today, we hit 19 confirmed cases in Illinois, up from 4 on Friday. The large majority of the cases are in Cook County. I’m guessing the match will either be rescheduled or played without fans, which is a bummer. The new ownership is going all out to make the opener a huge event. Hopefully they will honor these tickets for whenever the true home opener might be, got a feeling Soldier Field won’t sell out.
 
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candylandriots

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I just got a note from Union Berlin that this weekend’s game vs. Bayern Munich will be played without spectators. Just a couple of hours after I saw a newspaper headline that it would go on as normal. Things are moving quickly.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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only a matter of time. I don't see how England walls itself off. The virus is already there, surely.

The Euros are toast, surely.
Euros are insisting all is well but the notion that 12 countries will all be ok hosting games seems unlikely. I think they are stuck between irrational hope that things will be ok in June and knowing that if they want to postpone a year they need to have started planning yesterday.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Euros are insisting all is well but the notion that 12 countries will all be ok hosting games seems unlikely. I think they are stuck between irrational hope that things will be ok in June and knowing that if they want to postpone a year they need to have started planning yesterday.
a tournament, the whole point of which is international travel, is a non-starter, I think
 

InstaFace

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Jurgen Klopp promised that schedule congestion for international players was getting out of hand, and if not meaningfully addressed by FIFA, there would be a reckoning somehow.

His smiling face hides a labyrinth of evil.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I can’t see them finishing any season to be honest. Maybe cancel the euros and have the teams finish the season once Europe has a handle on the virus?
Not an easy call.
As of right now, there are 13 matches to be played. They can push the tournament back into July/August and pick it up then. Even if this year's tournament doesn't finish prior to the start of the 2020/21 league, it's a relatively small number of teams to work around. Libertadores has had some odd conclusions in prior years due to the timing of the World Cup. The competition was halted for 2-3 months until FIFA's tournament was completed.

I agree that the Euro is far more likely to be abandoned completely. A major hurdle about pushing it to next summer is FIFA's expansion of the Club World Cup into a full on 24 team tournament.
 

Zomp

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I think, and hope, most likely scenario is picking the season back up in May or so. Have a shortened offseason, late start to the season, and eliminate a few international breaks to catch up.

Move the euros to next year.
 

InstaFace

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Matt Slater of the Athletic gives an overview of how the european season(s) and competitions are likely to proceed.

Nobody The Athletic has spoken to believes the 2019-20 season will simply be written off but many are deeply concerned about how you complete it.

In football, perhaps the best example of this is Italy, where the football federation has already admitted it might not be able to reschedule all of Serie A’s postponed games. If this is the case, it could just end the season with the table as it is now or move to a play-off format to decide the champions and European places, as well as who gets relegated.

Given their entitled view of European club football, we can probably assume Juventus would vote to end the season now, handing them a ninth straight title, with 12 games not played. But they are only one point clear of Lazio, with an inferior goal difference, and Roma are only three points behind Atalanta for the fourth and final Champions League slot. At the bottom, Lecce are in 18th, the final relegation spot, but just three points behind Udinese in 14th.

On Wednesday night it was announced that Daniele Rugani, the Juventus and Italy defender, had tested positive for the virus, with the club enacting isolation procedures and Inter, who played Juventus last weekend, suspending all “competitive activities”.

Turning to the Premier League, nobody will begrudge Liverpool a richly deserved title — although their rivals would no doubt enjoy reminding them about the asterisk attached to this one — but Arsenal, in ninth, are eight points behind Chelsea in fourth, with a game in hand, and Manchester United are only three points behind Chelsea. It is hard to see either of these clubs — or Sheffield United, Tottenham or Wolves — saying they are willing to call time on this season just yet.

And that is before you consider relegation from the Premier League, where the bottom six are separated by eight points, or promotion from the Championship, where 13th-placed Queen Park Rangers are only six points behind Preston North End in the last play-off spot, sixth. And so on and so on. If you can’t finish the season, how do you decide who goes up and down?

And would any decision bring endless lawsuits?

While writing this piece, two Europa League games — Sevilla v Roma and Inter v Getafe — were postponed because of travel restrictions between Italy and Spain, raising serious questions about UEFA’s ability to finish that tournament by the end of May, although European football’s governing body has dismissed those fears. For now.

Finishing these competitions is essential and unlike rugby union, which will probably complete the final round of this season’s Six Nations tournament in the autumn, club football cannot start a new campaign until the previous one is settled.
And about the Euros, this struck me as patently ridiculous analysis, but he has a better seat to evaluate this than I do.

But the real elephant in the room here is Euro 2020, which is scheduled to start on June 12, 13 days after the Champions League final. Where is the first game? Rome.

On Tuesday, UEFA was forced to issue a strong denial when Italian media started reporting that several countries had asked the governing body to postpone the championship, which takes place this time in 12 different countries. A day later, that remains UEFA’s position and it is understood to have asked all of its host nations to do everything they can to make sure the tournament, which raises most of the money UEFA needs to finance its operations for four years, goes ahead.

Again, playing behind closed doors, but in front of the cameras, would be deeply disappointing for all concerned but probably better than trying to squeeze it into a summer slot in 2021 which frankly just does not exist, as UEFA already has a Nations League to complete, FIFA has World Cup qualifiers to fit in and, it hopes, a first ever 24-team Club World Cup, not to forget the African Cup of Nations and CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Turning Euro 2020 into Euro 2021 is not really an option, then, which is why UEFA is focusing its efforts on finding gaps in the various fixture lists over the next three months.
All of that shit in 2021 is optional or theoretical or not a mainstay of the footballing calendar. Who gives a fuck about the Nations League? Get your qualifiers in during the rest of the FIFA windows in the season. The Club World Cup can wait. AFCON and Gold Cup can run in parallel to the Euros or right before / after, it's a non-overlapping player pool by definition.

None of those strike me as sufficient reason to conclude that Euro 2021 is "not really an option".
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Matt Slater of the Athletic gives an overview of how the european season(s) and competitions are likely to proceed.



And about the Euros, this struck me as patently ridiculous analysis, but he has a better seat to evaluate this than I do.



All of that shit in 2021 is optional or theoretical or not a mainstay of the footballing calendar. Who gives a fuck about the Nations League? Get your qualifiers in during the rest of the FIFA windows in the season. The Club World Cup can wait. AFCON and Gold Cup can run in parallel to the Euros or right before / after, it's a non-overlapping player pool by definition.

None of those strike me as sufficient reason to conclude that Euro 2021 is "not really an option".
It is a difficult Rubik’s cube. FIFA will need to be involved.

I wonder if putting the World Cup off a year will eventually be on the table. It would give relief to the entire international calendar and give Qatar an extra year of prep.
 

coremiller

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Callum Hudson-Odoi has it too. I don't see any way they can continue the season at the moment.

 

InstaFace

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Let's hope Pulisic wasn't back training with the --

[Pulisic] has not featured for the first team since New Year’s Day, although he has played a friendly game behind closed doors.

"We've just had an in-house game here, that Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] and Christian Pulisic took part in.

"Great to see Christian get some minutes, he's still short of match fitness, but it's the first time the injury's gone up to a level to get him on a big pitch in a relatively competitive match, so it's a big step forward hopefully.

"I'll found out how it went later, but I just watched it."
...oh.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Football has been suspended.

Boris has said that the government expects an infection peak in May or June. That pretty much means the season is over.

How European places, relegation, etc are decided is anybody’s guess.

I wouldn’t necessarily assume the 20-21 season starts on time either.
 

dirtynine

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I suppose if they cancel the Euros, they could potentially restart the season in a month and go deep into summer. Lots of unknowns to pan out and dominos to fall for that scenario to happen, though. I’d say likeliest outcome is that things are over for the season.
 

shawnrbu

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Who's up for some Liga MX action? Morelia vs. Quéretaro tonight at 11pm (plus a few other matches this weekend). The only game in town.
Can’t wait!

Liga MX, Russian Premier League and Turkish Super League are the only options available right now on my sportsbook, but the latter two do not have TV in the US.
 

Awesome Fossum

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Who's up for some Liga MX action? Morelia vs. Quéretaro tonight at 11pm (plus a few other matches this weekend). The only game in town.
Me, definitely. I'm not not watching sports.

Who are we supporting? I think Club America has the best logo, and as someone who lives in the Americas, I'm obviously captured in their fan base. Sort of like the California Angels on steroids.



But I'm open to anyone other than Guadalajara for Chivas USA-related reasons.
 

67YAZ

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Klopp’s “proper football” comment was stupid and disrespectful, but his letter to Liverpool fans is spot on.

First and foremost we have to do what we can to protect one another. In society, I mean. This should be the case all the time in life, but in this moment I think it matters more than ever. I’ve said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things, and today football and football matches really aren’t important at all.
If the season is cancelled altogether, the plan to lock in the current table, relegate none, and promote 2 clubs seems both most fair and most likely to limit lawsuits. Every option has complications.
 

InstaFace

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Agree that plan is fair, and that the West Ham vice-chairman is either stupid or trolling. I'm not particularly rooting for them (don't hugely care which among the super-clubs wins it), but they've clearly and obviously earned it by a mile. The real shame is not seeing the margin by which they would set the points record.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

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Agree that plan is fair, and that the West Ham vice-chairman is either stupid or trolling. I'm not particularly rooting for them (don't hugely care which among the super-clubs wins it), but they've clearly and obviously earned it by a mile. The real shame is not seeing the margin by which they would set the points record.
Calling Liverpool the winner is easy. Relegation is easy if they go with 22 teams next year. Who goes to Europe is a bit of a mess.
 

candylandriots

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Norwich <3 coronavirus.

So would that mean 42 games next season?

Last time there were 22 teams in the league, Palace got relegated with 49 points. That worries me...
 
FWIW, the Russian Premier League season carried on today as normal - e.g., Zenit St. Petersburg defeated FC Ural 7-1 at home, and as far as I can tell, the stadium was pretty much full of fans. (Who knows for how long that is likely to continue; Russia is clearly a different kettle of fish from the rest of the civilized world in many other respects.)
 

InstaFace

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promoting / relegating the top and bottom 2 in each league, except not having any pro/rel between League 2 and the National League this season, seems the fairest. It's the teams who were 3rd or 4th from the top or bottom that were in the most uncertain positions; those either 1st or 2nd from the top/bottom were, statistically, very likely to end up moving leagues. We're not 40% through the season, we're 75% through the season.

I don't envy the position the EFL is in with this (or the FA if they try to overrule the EFL), but if you just eliminate pro/rel for this year you're essentially calling the entire season null and void, and that just doesn't square with what we've seen on the field. We've seen teams differentiate themselves from each other, and some stand out either positively or negatively. The remaining couple of games would remove a little noise from the process, but it's not like we can't say anything for certain about the relative quality of the teams this year.

Also, fuck Europe. That might as well be an exhibition by comparison competitively. It's a sideshow. You've got 92 pro teams to worry about. But even if we were to worry about it:

- City won the League Cup but are already in rock-solid CL position
- Of the 8 remaining contenders for the FA Cup, 3 are in CL position and 2 more (MANU 5th, SHU 7th) are already in EL position if you go by league standings.
- I think you could creditably stage a 4-team FA Cup playoff come May or June to determine both that championship and the EL slot, among the 3 not-already-qualifying teams plus the bubble team. So you put it among Newcastle, Arsenal, Norwich, and Sheffield Utd. Stage a re-draw among them, hold it empty-stands, and make the broadcast fees a fundraiser. Winner to the Europa league.
- So sorry to Leicester, Chelsea, United, and to City for not being able to defend their title. Your presence doesn't justify the additional public risk, and competitively it's irrelevant to you. Your consolation prize is an already-guaranteed spot in Europe (and in 3 of those cases, in the Champions League).

Barrier is whether teams can even practice together by that point 2 months from now; we'll have to see. I imagine most professional athletes are continuing to train on their own or in small groups to stay sharp, but that's different than being able to put a cohesive EPL-level team on the field.
 
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InstaFace

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Speaking of that National League (i.e. english 5th tier), although the first 4 tiers are all suspended, 6 of the 11 matches in the National League (and a majority of the two divisions one tier below them) are apparently going ahead. Except, those matches do not include either the leaders (Barrow) or the current 2nd-place team (Harrogate Town). I was checking to see what the table was like and whether the leaders were both sufficiently clear in points and sufficiently qualified to deserve EFL promotion. Looks like a very odd confluence of circumstances there, if you read the article.

But anyway, Barrow is only 4 points clear, and their stadium only holds 5000 (7th-lowest out of the 24 in the division), and Harrogate only 4100. Both would be the lowest in EFL League Two, although they (barely) clear the minimum requirements for promotion. With average matchday attendance in League Two being about 4500, neither club is exactly screaming out for promotion to the pros.
 

Titans Bastard

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Speaking of that National League (i.e. english 5th tier), although the first 4 tiers are all suspended, 6 of the 11 matches in the National League (and a majority of the two divisions one tier below them) are apparently going ahead. Except, those matches do not include either the leaders (Barrow) or the current 2nd-place team (Harrogate Town). I was checking to see what the table was like and whether the leaders were both sufficiently clear in points and sufficiently qualified to deserve EFL promotion. Looks like a very odd confluence of circumstances there, if you read the article.

But anyway, Barrow is only 4 points clear, and their stadium only holds 5000 (7th-lowest out of the 24 in the division), and Harrogate only 4100. Both would be the lowest in EFL League Two, although they (barely) clear the minimum requirements for promotion. With average matchday attendance in League Two being about 4500, neither club is exactly screaming out for promotion to the pros.
AFAIK, most clubs in the National League are full-time professional.

Cutting off promotion would be tough for Barrow, who played in the Football League from the 1920s until 1972 when they were not re-elected and were replaced by Hereford United, and who are close to returning to the FL for the first time in nearly 50 years. But, it's a weird season for sure.