English football has been at a standstill for more than six weeks with no clarity on how this current season will play out. A lot is at stake for league leaders and those well within the bracket for promotion or qualification. The plan to resume this 2019/20 campaign at a later date seems to be the option the authorities are leaning towards.
However, as the UK continues to be rocked by current events, England may be forced to take the same path as the Netherlands in voiding their seasons.
In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, Chris Kamara opened up about his take on the current season hiatus.
“What do I think will happen? I’m not sure,” admitted the Sky Sports pundit. “I’m going to leave that to the authorities because this is a difficult decision. Whatever decision they make won’t please everybody. My personal opinion is, what’s the rush?
“The season was supposed to end in May but we’ve been on lockdown, so does it really matter when we finish it – between now and January?”
After English football was declared officially suspended on March 13, players and staff have also been abiding by government isolation rules. The entire country was placed on lockdown on March 23 and despite Germany seeing both men’s and women’s teams back in training, the UK feels a long way off. The Bundesliga outfits have reportedly been training in small groups as they look ahead to some normality in their league.
“I hope we start in June – I’ve heard the Premier League players might be going back into training on May 10. So I’m hoping that’s the case.” Kamara continued. “I think if we get to July and nothing is happening, then we need to say ‘end of’, because we might not be able to start up again in January.
“It’s a really difficult question to answer and I’m just hoping whatever decision is made, everyone is in agreement.”
The decision to void the current season and expunge results would be a huge lifeline for the teams who have been struggling with form. For the likes of Norwich City, who have lost 18 games this term, and Barnsley who have a relegation zone deficit of seven points, a null season would be a dream come true.
“I understand why people want to end the season, and if I was at a club at the bottom of the league then I would want it to end as soon as possible. That’s human nature,” added Kamara.
However, there are teams with a lot more at stake. Liverpool are mere matches away from winning their first-ever Premier League trophy and first league title in 30 years. Leeds are also comfortably ahead in the Championship, looking certain to end a 16-year spell in the second tier by earning promotion. If officials decide to chalk off this season, dreams from clubs and their fans will be crushed.
“That would be a mega shame,” the Soccer Saturday icon said. “From September, people were saying West Brom and Leeds will go up automatically, and that didn’t change, even when they had sticky periods.
“It would be heartbreaking for them if the season was declared null and void. But we haven’t reached that point yet so who knows.”
When we asked Kamara how he expected fans to react if the season was wiped, he replied: “It’s hypothetical at the moment so we’re going to have to wait and see. We don’t know what’s going to happen or how the fans feel about it, but the fans should be involved in the decision-making, that’s one thing I know for sure.
“Whether we come back behind closed doors, come back with crowds or we don’t come back at all, the fans should have a voice in all of this.”
Dates that should have featured huge fixtures including the North London derby and Liverpool vs Manchester City have passed by. Matchday calendars are currently blank until the return of English football and the absence of the Premier League especially has left fans not knowing what to do with their weekends.
“One of the things that makes the Premier League great above all the other leagues in the world is the atmosphere in our stadiums,” reflected Kamara. “Atmospheres which other countries can only dream of.
“They’ve got their big games, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, PSG vs Marseille… but we have a big game every single week and these games always have a full house. For the fans not to be included in the decision-making would be wrong.”
According to Sky Sports, all 20 Premier League clubs will hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the season as it stands, with the view to aim for a resumption in June.
“With all the money that’s poured into the Premier League, the reason is the full stadiums and the atmospheres they create, so let’s not forget the people who matter.”
Chris Kamara was talking to us ahead of the NHS Charities Together Cup, which is aiming to raise millions for the NHS and will involve several sporting celebrities, actors and comedians. For more information on the NHS Charities Together Cup and how you can donate, click here.