What Options do the Big European Football Leagues Have to Finish the Season?


football league coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus pandemic is gripping the world and having a huge impact on sporting fixtures. Pretty much all football is currently suspended, with no fixed date of a return. Many different ideas have been muted but what are the realistic options for the four main domestic leagues and the European club competitions right now?

Champions League & Europa League

These are important competitions, but are far less important than finishing domestic leagues. For that reason, the likelihood is that they will be scrapped for this season, with the competitions beginning again next season.

Should that be the case then we could see a shortened qualification process next season, with some clubs unable to play during the summer when this begins.

Things will have to be going well for these competitions to finish. Options are to play in May, June and July when the domestic leagues are getting finished, or hold back until the start of next season and finish the competitions then. Squads would look a little different, but if this was to happen then the competitions for next season could be shortened and started later.

Premier League

If this was a simple as awarding someone the title then the Premier League would give it to Liverpool and write off the rest of the season. However, European qualification and relegation need sorting too, which adds many complications.

The most sensible option so far is to play games behind closed doors with no fans in attendance during the months of June and July. The hope is that the UK will be fighting well against coronavirus by then so they can stage events with no fans.

Playing in front of crowds is unlikely, so the only other viable option would be to cancel this season and start again from scratch in August, awarding nothing to all clubs.

Serie A

The European league with most left to do is Serie A, and it is also where the virus is currently at its worst. With the title, European spots and relegation all still to sort, and a lot of games to be played there is only one likely scenario here and that is to cancel the league.

While the summer is clear for teams to play if they wish, and the start of next season could be pushed back with the cancellation of the winter break, these would likely still not be enough to get things done. Italy is in the worst position of any country in Europe right now, and football seems unlikely to happen at any point soon.

La Liga

Spain is second behind Italy in terms of how serious the virus is and will have to factor that into any decision. They are further on in the season though, which will help them. With the Spanish league, another one that starts late the best bet for Spain may be to postpone for now and then come back in August to finish off. That would give Spain four months to try and find some normality in the situation, and then a six week period in from the start of August to complete the current La Liga season. Teams would then dive straight into the new season, starting 3 weeks later and cutting out the small break they have after Christmas to catch up.

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