GLEN JOHNSON: “In my opinion, if things don’t change pretty swiftly, we’ll have to cancel the season.”
At the moment, it’s very hard to say whether or not UEFA have made the correct decision in postponing Euro 2020.
It’s all very good saying it’s in order to help domestic leagues get finished, but we have absolutely no idea how long this period is going to go on for. Some people are saying we’ll be back to normal in a few weeks, some are saying it will be much longer, but the reality is, no-one knows which makes the decisions these governing bodies have to make very tricky.
Premier League should be cancelled
With football being delayed for an unknown amount of time, plenty think we won’t get this season done. But what does that mean in terms of the title, European qualification and relegation? At the top of the table, we all know Liverpool are going to win the league, but the major issue is will there be time for them to be crowned?
If the season is cancelled and the title is awarded to Liverpool, every person on the planet, except Liverpool fans, is going to say they didn’t win the league. As things stand, Jurgen Klopp’s side are in a no-win situation because there is no way the players will want to win the league in that manner. It’s incredibly harsh on them as they’ve been streets ahead of their rivals this season, but the way things are going it might all be for nothing.
In my opinion, if things don’t change pretty swiftly, we’ll have to cancel the season. It’s a pretty extreme measure, but if you look at the other end of the table, you can’t just relegate clubs based on their position in the table after 28 or 29 matches. It’s pretty likely that at least one of the current bottom-three will get out of it with the amount of time left in the season. The difference between survival and relegation is life-changing and whether or not a team stays up makes a difference in so many areas. Staff might get sacked and budgets might get cut if a club goes down, whereas it could be the polar opposite if they stay up.
It’s the same in the Championship and the other leagues. Imagine if you’re sat in third place, just a point off automatic promotion and you miss out on going up. Every side is going to throw punches from their corner and almost all of them are going to feel hard done if the season is stopped now, so I think in order to be as fair as possible, we have to say this season didn’t happen. You can’t just give Liverpool the league and say to the others; you’re not as important.
In short, you have to give Liverpool the league and relegate those currently in the bottom-three or cancel the season altogether.
Behind closed doors
Before football was postponed, the majority of matches were played behind closed doors and I can imagine it’s a pretty weird experience for the players. It was never something I had to do in a competitive match and I’m not sure it would have been much fun.
I did play in a few during pre-season and at the training ground and it was quite hard to get motivated for them, which is one of the huge benefits of playing at packed-out stadiums around the world. The fans make it such an amazing atmosphere and the adrenaline is there before you even start, so having no fans around in a big, competitive game would be odd that’s for sure.
Should clubs be training?
A number of clubs are still training despite the Government’s advice to stay indoors and to me that seems like the wrong way of doing things. If we’ve decided to postpone the Euros which is months away, surely we should all be going on lockdown now? If some clubs are self-isolating and some aren’t then it completely defeats the object of doing it in the first place. Whichever way we do it, clubs, players and staff all need to stick to the advice we’ve been given in order to minimise the virus spreading. This should hopefully mean that things return to normal as quickly as possible and the season gets going again.