TheLocalYokel

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How the 2019-2020 domestic football season will eventually be resolved has been subject of masses of discussion, speculation and debate in the sports media with numerous ideas and suggestions.

Some of the ideas I’ve read about include:

1. Write off the current season leaving teams where they were last August when season 2020-2021 begins.

2. End the season now with the current table regarded as the final table from which promotion and relegation would be decided with only those teams in the automatic promotion spots going up and a balanced number being relegated, e.g. only two teams would go up to the Premier League from the Championship instead of the usual three and only two would be relegated from the Premier League.

3. Resume the current season when the government permits (which might mean playing behind closed doors). It would probably then be necessary to have a month or so’s gap before the following season began, and consideration might have to be given to operating that season with each team playing each other only once instead of the traditional twice if it begins late in the year.

4. Resume the current season when the government permits (which might mean playing behind closed doors) with teams playing up to three times a week to get the season over as quickly as possible.

The last two options would still require play-offs which would extend the season further.

I’m sure that there have been other ideas put forward.

This does not deal with the European club competition issue though.

Rugby is in a similar position although the English Rugby Championship (the second tier in England) has concluded, with the positions in the table in March being regarded as the final table. This means that the leaders Newcastle Falcons have been promoted back to the English Rugby Premiership (Saracens had already been relegated from the Premiership because of alleged financial irregularities) and Yorkshire Carnegie relegated to the English National League One (the third tier).

Cricket is yet to begin this season and there are thoughts that if it begins at all the matches might be restricted to those that are the most profitable for the counties and franchises, i.e. 20:20 and the new The Hundred. Proper cricket (County Championship) might not take place at all and there are still doubts about test cricket this summer.

Other major sporting events this summer have already been cancelled or are under consideration of cancellation.

In the grand scheme of things some people might believe that sport is of little or no relevance or importance. In one sense that’s true although numerous jobs are involved, and not just those of some highly-paid players. Another point is the concern that a long-term lock down will increasingly affect the mental health of a lot people and sport is one way of bringing an interest that they can look forward to and enjoy, even if events have to be staged with no spectators.
 

JENNYJET

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Football, finish the season if table unlikely to change based on trending results, i.e. Liverpool unlikely to be usurped based upon form.

Where a competition remains live, attempt a conclusion.

Closed doors okay provision to be made for live streaming for the price of ticket, to maintain revenue and employment.

Cricket, County Championship play over two seasons as and when restrictions lifted. White Ball, play under closed conditions via streaming as per football. Tests, carried over to future seasons subject to ICC rejig of schedule.

F1, reduced circus, unofficial championship.

Golf, private tour, no spectators, players can easily distance themselves, if caddies behave.
 
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TheLocalYokel

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Football, finish the season if table unlikely to change based on trending results, i.e. Liverpool unlikely to be usurped based upon form.

Where a competition remains live, attempt a conclusion.

Closed doors okay provision to me made for live streaming for the price of ticket, to maintain revenue and employment.

Cricket, County Championship play over two seasons as and when restrictions lifted. White Ball, play under closed conditions via streaming as per football. Tests, carried over to future seasons subject to ICC rejig of schedule.

F1, reduced circus, unofficial championship.

Golf, private tour, no spectators, players can easily distance themselves, if caddies behave.
They should have you as the adviser. All sorted.:)
 

XEROX

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Todays UEFA meeting stated plans to finish the season. It's a mess, as a Leeds Utd supporter I hope we play the next 9 games...even of its behind closed doors....
 

JENNYJET

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Freezing results and continue next season, all be it shorter, with a contest all the best of both to decide the league for following season. Thus, this season's top half, plus next season top half, the teams involved play a tournament to qualify for 21-22 season, similar set up for bottom halves to determine relegation. The relevant qualifiers would contest a special Covid trophy. Usual player transfer protocols remain to maintain stability.

Is it beyond the mental capacity of administrators to devise a plan to keep the professional game alive?
 

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Just end season now. Rugby will be interesting next year as apparently they want to play summer tours in October and might even essentially play another six nations in November! Club rugby will be screwed!
 

TheLocalYokel

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Just end season now. Rugby will be interesting next year as apparently they want to play summer tours in October and might even essentially play another six nations in November! Club rugby will be screwed!
Do you mean end the season now with the positions that clubs currently occupy in the table being regarded as the final table from which European qualification would be based for next season?

The latest idea to finish the English Premiership is to place the current top four clubs in the table - Exeter Chiefs (45pts), Sale Sharks (40), Bristol Bears (38) and Northampton Saints (35) - directly into a play-off style format for the title.

That would also ensure their places in the European Champions Cup next season, while the next four teams in the table - Wasps, Bath, Harlequins and London Irish - would compete for the remaining two places.

I suppose the others would go into the European Challenge Cup. It would seem that whatever method is used to complete this season games would be played without spectators. Still doesn't sort out this season's European competitions though.

In fact, the chairman of the Engish Football League (EFL) says that spectators might not be allowed back into matches until next year which presumably would be the same for rugby if it was based on goverment guidance.
 

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Do you mean end the season now with the positions that clubs currently occupy in the table being regarded as the final table from which European qualification would be based for next season?
Yep i generally don't think they'll be able to play the games. Even behind closed doors the games will still require the of a gathering of significant amount of people. Would the authorities allow that? No one knows. Ending the season now does give some certainty to what is happening.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Yep i generally don't think they'll be able to play the games. Even behind closed doors the games will still require the of a gathering of significant amount of people. Would the authorities allow that? No one knows. Ending the season now does give some certainty to what is happening.
The main Dutch football league the Eredivisie has scrapped this season with no champions or relegation.

On the other hand the Bundesliga, Germany's major footbal league, hopes to resume matches early next month with no spectators. Players have already resumed training. However, Germany's social distancing rules might yet scupper that plan.

As with the English Football League, the Bundesliga does not expect spectators to be allowed back into matches until 2021. Another problem is that if the matches are televised, as some will be - perhaps all in the major leagues, there is a danger of fans grouping in large numbers in front of communal tv screens or listening to radio commentaries in groups.

It seems increasingly likely that the 2020 cricket season will not take place.

It also looks increasingly likely that some clubs, whether football, rugby, cricket or other sports, will not survive a very long period of spectatorless matches with no money coming in, apart from tv revenue in some cases (mainly at the top end of each sport): no games at all would obviously exacerbate an already parlous situation still more.

As far as the UK is concerned it seems that the main criterion for easing the lockdown is reaching a situation where the NHS will not be overwhelmed by a second or third wave of the virus and as a result some people will not be dying when they might otherwise do so in an overwhelmed NHS, but that is not likely to mean that people will be allowed to congregate in large groups at sporting events or in theatres, cinemas, pubs, clubs or restaurants.

At some point governments around the world will have to look seriously at the economic/health balance. Currently and most people would probably say rightly the balance is tilted massively towards health. That heavily-weighted balance cannot be held indefinitely. If a reliable vaccine or at least some form of medication to reduce the worst effects of the virus cannot be found the world will have to grasp the unpalatable notion that life must carry on with the ever-present virus lurking. The best that might then be expected is a better management of the virus.
 

TheLocalYokel

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JENNYJET

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Perhaps, different to my previous thoughts, it is time to take a deep breath and close all competitions and note them as unfinished for future reference.

We can, subject to authorities agreements, start again when safe to do so.

It is becoming clear that a new order of things will or has emerged and that we simply have to get used to it.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Germany's Bundesliga was the first major European football league to resume playing - from this weekend - with no paying spectators admitted.

I've just watched a 10-minute highligh programme of Dortmund 4 Schalke O on YouTube. It was an odd experience watching a top league match in an empty ground. You could hear the shouts of the coaches and other team officials. There was no kissing and hugging allowed when goals were scored which I think is a good thing. I'm old-fashioned and believe that a quick handshake is all that is necessary but of course in the current environment even handshakes are taboo, let alone snogging with the goalscorer.

I do wonder though how long matches at this level can continue to be played with no crowd in attendance. After all, the crowd reaction and noise is part of the event.

If the English Premier League does resume it too will almost certainly be played 'behind closed doors' and that could continue into next season. Obviously to many football fans that's far better than no matches at all.
 

JENNYJET

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Little different then from the non league games, Mr. Figgins and his whippet, awful tea and soggy bacon buttie to keep him warm during a full uneventful game of Association Football. As honest as it can get and if Mr Figgins is banned will the players miss him? The chairman perhaps but the game improves with no crowds to play up to.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Little different then from the non league games, Mr. Figgins and his whippet, awful tea and soggy bacon buttie to keep him warm during a full uneventful game of Association Football. As honest as it can get and if Mr Figgins is banned will the players miss him? The chairman perhaps but the game improves with no crowds to play up to.
Brings back memories. In my youth I had a couple of seasons in a mediocre semi-pro league which suited by less than semi-pro ability, which is why I played as an amateur but did get a bit of 'boot' money. There were a lot of times in the depths of winter when there might have been a few more Mr Figgins in attendance but not many more.

Some of the 'big clubs' could boast a few hundred Figgins at matches and there was one memorable occasion in the early 1960s when we played a league match at Bridgwater Town who had drawn Crystal Palace at home in the next round of the FA Cup. Bridgwater were issuing vouchers to everyone who came to our match which enabled the spectators to purchase tickets for the FA Cup tie. Well over 3,000 packed into Bridgwater's old ground at Castle Field for our match that day but I can't for the life of me remember the score or who won.

I do remember that in the FA Cup match Bridgwater lost 0-3 to Crystal Palace who were then in the Third Division but had a current England International, Johnny 'Budgie' Byrne, in their side. Imagine a League One player appearing for England nowadays or even a player from the Championship.

Those were the days when the FA Cup really meant something, even to the top clubs in the land, and often drew bigger crowds than league matches.

I enjoyed travelling around those lowest-of-the-low non-league grounds. They each had their individual character, although some of those characteristics were best left unsaid in polite company. By then I realised that I would never make a fulltime living playing football so I simply enjoyed the experience for a while before downsizing into local football where I was a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

Most of the players in the Western League in those days were the-never-have-beens (ie former Football League players who either never really made it or who were playing out their final overweight days for beer money, and the never-will-bes of which I was one. There were a few young players scattered around the league who did go on to do well in the higher reaches of the game by which I mean mainly the Third and Fourth Divisions (League One and Two as they are euphemistically labelled these days).

It would not have been wise to attempt to plant a smackeroo on the lips of some of those old players when they scored a goal. They believed that a handshake was overdoing things.
 

JENNYJET

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I used to be a regular at Dudley Town, a Black Country team that played Southern League, way back in the 1970's and I met Mr. Figgins on the grass bank near the members stand. He was the groundsman and everything else, it was he that was the club not the chairman, a man no one would ever see at games but his Jaguar car was centrepiece on the car park. We took the 82 bus to Dudley from Birmingham Bearwood,

The players were working folk of the town, foundrymen, printers, lock makers, jobs that were prevalent in the day, and footy was a dream occupation and they played an honest game, no histrionics with officials but a full 90 minutes of play giving the fans a game for the entry price and a cuppa! If I wanted professional football I went to Walsall at Fellows Park if memory serves, a division 3 or 4 team. The quality was missing but they probably had other things on their minds!
 

TheLocalYokel

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I used to be a regular at Dudley Town, a Black Country team that played Southern League, way back in the 1970's and I met Mr. Figgins on the grass bank near the members stand. He was the groundsman and everything else, it was he that was the club not the chairman, a man no one would ever see at games but his Jaguar car was centrepiece on the car park. We took the 82 bus to Dudley from Birmingham Bearwood,

The players were working folk of the town, foundrymen, printers, lock makers, jobs that were prevalent in the day, and footy was a dream occupation and they played an honest game, no histrionics with officials but a full 90 minutes of play giving the fans a game for the entry price and a cuppa! If I wanted professional football I went to Walsall at Fellows Park if memory serves, a division 3 or 4 team. The quality was missing but they probably had other things on their minds!
Until the late 70s the Southern League was the feeder league into the Football League for southern clubs. In the late 70s the new Alliance League absorbed the Southern League and the Northern Premier to become the feeder league into the Football League. It changed its name to the Football Conference for many years and later again to the current name, National League.

For much of the last century the bottom clubs in the old Third Division South and Third Division North, then later the bottom two clubs in the Fourth Division had to seek re-election. They almost always succeeded because the decision was in the hands of the other club chairmen who could find their own club at the bottom next year. They closed ranks and it was next to impossible for a club to get into the Football League then. Nowadays it's on merit with the top National League side gaining automatic promotion and the next four playing off for the second promotion place.

The Southern League still exists albeit slightly down the English football pyramid these days at levels 7 and 8. My old league is at levels 9 and 10.

Dudley Town's chairman sounds a bit like mine, although he didn't have a Jaguar but a new top of the range Vauxhall which perhaps reflects the lower status of the Western League compared with the Southern League.

Walsall certainly played at Fellows Park until about 25 years ago. Their current ground, the Bescot Stadium, is a neat enclosure next to the motorway.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I believe Walsall now name it the Banks's stadium after the brewer and is indeed located at Bescot, a major rail marshalling facility nearby j9 & 10 of M6 by the RAC control centre. Unfortunately it is a sterile place without the atmosphere of Fellowes park as was.
We used to pass the stadium next to the M6 regularly when visiting our daughter and family when they lived in Cheshire. They've lived in Australia for the past eleven years which takes slightly longer to reach than Cheshire from the West Country. In fact, the first time we flew to Oz (in 2010) we headed in the general direction of the Bescot, as I think you said it was still called then, en route to BHX to fly with Emirates.
 

rollo

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I know what you mean JENNY JET I went to the Bescot a while back for a corparate do nice enough but lacks something. My teams ground comes in for a fair bit of criticism but I think the old main stand at St. Andrews makes it feel like a proper football ground to me although the players don't do much to help.
 

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