LONDON: Some clarity on how soccer leagues in Europe plan to complete seasons that have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic is expected this week but there is likely to be a mixed bag of solutions with countries tugging in different directions.
Meetings set for the next few days will study how to resume the suspended campaigns, even though it will be difficult to come up with a definitive roadmap while the continent remains in the grip of the fast-spreading virus.
Uefa will discuss this season’s Champions League today while the Premier League will hold a conference call on Friday with suggestions they are considering re-starting the season in early May to avoid losing broadcast revenue.
One option on the table is resuming the season behind close doors in order to finish by July 12, thereby avoiding millions of pounds of penalties in their television contracts.
They will also want to settle promotion and relegation issues to avoid potential legal battles, like the one threatened by non-league clubs whose season has already been curtailed.
In Italy, there is growing sentiment that the season should be abandoned.
“Let’s think about health now, we’ll talk about football later,” Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso said.
The prospect of La Liga clubs in Spain playing every second day was a non-starter for Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“The scenario we are looking at now is to play a game or two before June 30 so we can end the season in July or August. We have no problems in doing that,” he said yesterday.
“What we don’t want is to play games behind closed doors or every 48 hours.”
Ligue 1 in France is also under pressure to return after broadcaster Canal Plus said it would not pay the next instalment of their contract after the suspension of matches.
In Belgium, the league’s leadership will meet tomorrow after a call from the majority of first and second division clubs to call off the rest of the 2019-20 campaign.