The world is currently in turmoil, battling against Covid-19 and attempting to halt the concurrently infectious and deadly disease. Taking a look at football, the world’s favourite sport has been brought to an almighty standstill, with fans all around the globe waiting eagerly for its anticipated return.

Much debate has been had over how and when football should return, with the top five European leagues postponing the season in early March. As of yet, four of the five leagues are looking to complete the current period, however France have stunningly decided to cancel the campaign and award teams based on their present position. PSG, who were 10 points ahead of second place while having a game in hand on everyone inside the top half, have been awarded their ninth Ligue 1 title. Marseille and Rennes secured Champions League places while Lille scooped up the last European spot, earning Europa League status for the adjacent season. On the other end of the spectrum, Amiens and Toulouse have both been expatriated into France’s second tier.

PSG Winning the 2018/19 Ligue 1 Title

This is a monumental decision from the French FA, one that will not leave their office without extreme denunciation. With 10/11 games left to play a whole host of positional changes could have taken place, while there is also the issue of fixture difficulty. It is clear that certain teams would have had much harder run in’s than others. European football, relegation, league position and cups all hold massive value to French football clubs and football teams all around Europe. We are not simply discussing one less trophy for a player or the difference between European football and solely domestic football, people’s livelihoods are very much at stake during these uncertain times. It is a common misconception from people who do not have a comprehensive grasp on the sport, that every single member of staff is on similar salaries to the first team, from the cleaner to the groundsman non-playing staff will usually incorporate everyday wages. Relegation or simply finishing lower than expected can force clubs into making drastic cuts in employment and financing. At the end of the day football clubs are businesses, vicious businesses at that, so deciding to cancel the season when 26% of the games are yet to be contested is in my eyes, a ludicrous decision.

President of the French FA- Noël Le Graët

I firmly believe we must complete all domestic seasons. When it is safe to do so the remainder of the games should be carried out. There is no point in playing out the games for the sake of it, behind closed doors, purely because the money men in football want to see their wallets filled again. Once the governing bodies deem sport safe to be played, finish the season, it is the only justifiable outcome. Of course we need to consider the lower divisions of European football, but smaller clubs depend financially on gate receipts much more than broadcast deals. A reported half of the English football league could go bust without the imminent return of football. Yet I reiterate my point, football will not be back any quicker by voiding the current season.

In terms of European competitions, this is a thornier problem. Having to incorporate these events into the renewed domestic calendar would be an ever more arduous situation. UEFA are unlikely to want to alternate their stance on finishing the tournaments. In an ideal world I would concentrate on finishing the domestic leagues and readjusting the yearly calendar depending on the return of the beautiful game. At the moment, Germany, Spain, Italy and England are looking to do just that however France have gone a different route and broken what I think would have been helpful unity between these countries. All the leagues are following their government’s advice, the French authorities have come out and stated that no live sport will be carried out until September, at the earliest. On the other end of the spectrum Germany are intent on the return of their national sport in June, with training already taking place for the biggest teams. Gaining cohesion will be near impossible, and it is likely that football will return sporadically.

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