Only reason Premier League has not been declared null and void over coronavirus is £762m bill clubs face – The Sun

IT is all well and good for the Premier League to declare they remain “100 per cent committed” to completing the season.

But it would help if they could spell out exactly how they plan to achieve that lofty ambition.

Because it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how they can squeeze in another 92 fixtures when society remains months away from being allowed out of isolation.

And as a growing number of minor leagues begin to call the whole thing off, surely it is only a matter of time before the top flight is forced to bow to the inevitable.

The only reason the 2019-20 season has not already been declared null and void is not down to any noble desire to see Liverpool crowned worthy champions.

It is simply because the clubs do not want to lose £762million in lost broadcast revenue.

That is the sum Premier League teams would have to refund Sky and BT Sports if the season does not play to a finish.

But the cash has already been banked and — in the majority of cases — spent. Most clubs couldn’t give it back even if they wanted to.

Which is why there is now a growing push for football to return behind closed doors to fulfil its legal commitments to the TV companies.

Wayne Rooney rightly pointed out it would be morally wrong for that to happen if it were to involve diverting ambulances and police officers from far more important duties. But he did not explain how he expects Derby to continue paying his £50,000-a-week salary while they are prevented from playing.

Don’t blame the TV companies for this worrying state of affairs.

They have bankrolled the Premier League from its inception in 1992 with broadcast deals worth an accumulated £23.84billion.

Is it too much for them to expect a bit of reciprocation from clubs and players, many of whom are millionaires?

Sky Sports has allowed viewers to pause subscriptions and calculates it will lose £700m if the sporting shutdown carries on for four months.

So of course they should be allowed to reclaim their money from the clubs for games which have yet to be screened.

Yet that very suggestion has sent the Premier League bean counters scurrying for their brown trousers.

And now they are trying to justify any means possible to get the remaining games ticked off.

Southampton chief Martin Semmens claims football in empty stadiums would be a sign the country is returning to normal.

He said: “If people are home for another month and Premier League football is on the TV every day that can only be a good thing.”

A good thing for the owners and directors, maybe, but probably not such a good thing for the players.

For as long as anyone can remember, top-flight managers have been bleating about fixture congestion and the unfair physical demands made of elite footballers. Yet now clubs are talking up the idea of shoehorning in matches every other day no matter what the consequences.

As things stand, Raheem Sterling and Manchester City could still have another 19 games if they were to go all the way in the Champions League and FA Cup while Manchester United have a potential 18 matches remaining.


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Even if football were to be given the green light to resume on April 30 — which it won’t — those elite teams would still struggle to finish by August.

After a month and a half in self isolation, players would require at least three weeks of proper training before being told to flog themselves through three games a week.

Even then the most likely scenario would be ghost games crammed with reserve and youth team players just to get teams over the finishing line of their contractual obligations.

The integrity of the competition might be compromised but, hey, at least they would still pass go and still collect £762m.

With the notable exception of Liverpool and Leeds fans, most supporters no longer care about finishing a campaign which has been rendered virtually meaningless by the current global crisis.

It is time to draw a line under the season that never quite was and begin planning for a fresh start . . . whenever that might be.

WAS it just me, or did anyone else find that snap of Cristiano Ronaldo posing with his family just a little disturbing?

The Juventus superstar, 35, is arguably the greatest player of all time.

And Ronaldo deserves nothing but praise for donating £1million to hospitals in his native Portugal.

Yet that still doesn’t justify the need for him to flex every muscle in his startlingly toned body while preening topless alongside his young relatives.

Like Dorian Gray, he probably has a picture in his attic that looks like Neville Southall.

What an odd chap he is.

MIKE ASHLEY showed his true colours by trying to cash in on a global crisis to flog sports gear at vastly-inflated prices.

Now the whole country knows why Newcastle fans have held their reluctant owner in such disdain for so long.

While football unites to combat the pandemic, this charmless chancer finally pushed his luck too far.

When this is over, we will remember the actions of people like Ashley, Richard Branson, Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin and the Britannia Hotel owners who couldn’t wait to make all their staff redundant.

And we will never forgive them.

Saudi despot Mohammed Bin Salman might be too busy arresting his rival princes to continue his Toon takeover talks.

And fanciful claims that Floyd Mayweather is considering a Geordie buyout have also died a death.

But surely someone out there can rescue football from Mike Ashley?

Just like Covid-19, he is a virus we can’t wait to see the back of.

ARSENAL obsessives have been plunged into despair by statistical ‘genius’ Jaeson Rosenfeld getting poached by Arsene Wenger.

Their former boss is now head of global development at Fifa and wants Rosenfeld to develop data analysis to help the world game.

Apparently this is a blow for Arsenal, who must get by without the man whose StatDNA firm was bought by them for £2million in 2012, coincidentally the same time they ceased to be title contenders.

The American was recruited to help avoid transfer calamities like Marouane Chamakh.

So presumably he gave the green light to Yaya Sanogo, Kim Kallstrom, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina, Gabriel Paulista, Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Perez, Shkodran Mustafi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Denis Suarez.

Quite how Arsenal get by without such expertise remains to be seen. Somehow I think they’ll be OK.

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