Fantasy Premier League managers should learn more about the future of the football season today.
UEFA is holding an emergency meeting with representatives of European football federations, clubs and leagues to make decisions about the football schedule in the coming months.
Sport on the continent has been brought to a standstill over the last fortnight following the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Premier League was also affected as numbers of confirmed cases in the United Kingdom rose sharply last week.
That led to a postponement of all matches between now and April 4, with Gameweeks 30 and 31 of FPL reduced to completely fixture-less Blank Gameweeks.
Today’s UEFA meeting is a key piece of the puzzle that will pave the way for when the Premier League could return.
Conducted via video conference call and led by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, the meeting will take the views from all 55 of UEFA’s member associations on a number of issues including the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020. Final decisions will then be taken by the UEFA Executive Committee.
Euro 2020 is the tournament that hangs most in the balance at this current point in time. It was supposed to be played in 12 European cities between June and July – but the UK’s chief medical adviser Professor Chris Witty believes this country’s peak COVID-19 outbreak period could occur during this time.
Either way, the absence of Euro 2020 from the football calendar is looking to be the likeliest way to help Europe’s leagues find time to complete their 2019/20 seasons.
Not surprisingly, Italy, which has been harder hit by the coronavirus outbreak than most European nations, is set to support the postponement of the upcoming major international tournament.
“We will propose to UEFA the delay of the European Championships. We will try to get to the end of this [domestic] championship because it is fairer and more correct after the many investments and sacrifices of our clubs.” – Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation
The completion of this season’s Champions League and Europa League will also be up for discussion and could have an impact on domestic football in this country.
It has been suggested that each of these competitions may be finalised using a mini-tournament in order to ease fixture congestion – which could see one-legged quarter-finals and semi-finals. Either way, we should know more by the end of today.
Regardless of what gets decided by UEFA on Tuesday, Fantasy managers will still have to stay tuned into the news until at least Thursday, when the Premier League their next emergency meeting.
Using what decisions have been made by UEFA, the Premier League will know more about what options they have to complete the 2019/20 season.
“It is most essential that domestic competitions can be completed this season, to limit the negative impact for the entire football ecosystem. This crisis is also causing very serious sporting and financial consequences to all parties involved in the game. We are ready to cooperate with UEFA and other stakeholders to find common solutions to all these issues in a constructive way, including the international club competitions and Euro 2020.” – European Leagues body statement
There was a further update from Boris Johnson on Monday afternoon which placed further obstacles in the way of a Premier League return.
In the first of his daily press conferences, the UK Prime Minister advised against unnecessary social contact of all kinds and attending mass gatherings, specifically referencing sports fixtures, which will no longer have the required medical help from the NHS.
“We need people to start working from home and you should avoid pubs, clubs and other such social venues. It remains true that risks of transmission at mass gatherings such as sporting events are relatively low. But as we advise against unnecessary social contact of all kinds, it’s right that we should extend that advice to mass gatherings. We’ve also got to ensure that we have the critical workers we need that might otherwise (be engaged at sporting events). We will no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers in the way that we normally would.” – Boris Johnson
For the latest NHS advice on coronavirus, please check their official website HERE.