The president of UEFA has warned the current season will be ‘lost’ if it doesn’t resume by July as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across Europe and the world.
Aleksander Ceferin has been talking about the scenarios for when the domestic and European competitions can resume and it is clear there is a small window of opportunity for each league in Europe to complete their 2019-20 campaigns.
Speaking to Italian outlet La Repubblica, Ceferin confirmed that he has a few plans in mind but with many leagues seasons expected to resume later in the summer, if at all, time is running out before the attention must switch to 2020-21.
“Nobody knows when the pandemic will end. We have a plan A, B or C: to restart in mid-May, in June or at the end of June. If then we wouldn’t be able to do any of these, the season would probably be lost,” Ceferin said. “There is also the possibility of ending this season at the start of the next, which would then be postponed, starting a little later. We’re in touch with the leagues, the clubs, there is a working group and we’ll see what solution is best for all. We have to wait, like any other sector.”
Right now, the situation which would see the end of this season resuming at the start of next season seems the most likely.
A report has already stated that the 2019-20 Premier League season could resume at the start of July and the final nine games of the season would be played out across 4-6 weeks and act as a preseason for the 2020-21 campaign.
The main issue to sort out is player contracts as many are contracted until July 1 before becoming free agents. What happens to those players? Will players sign short-term contracts? What about loan deals? FIFA and UEFA will no doubt have to sort out all of those finer details but that is all secondary.
Right now the main thing on the mind of leagues across the world is when, if ever, they can finish the 2019-20 seasons. It is looking increasingly likely that there will be just a short period of time to get the season finished but if just one player or coach tests positive for coronavirus during that period, the whole league would have to shut down again.