RACE AGAINST TIME
The postponements of the European Championship and the Olympic Games have given hope back to the various football associations in their countries, but everything is still dependent on the possible control of the spread of the coronavirus, because after all time does not stop and the completion of the remaining matchdays of the European leagues is still at stake.
According to conclusions drawn from the most recent UEFA meeting with clubs and officials, the deadline is now August 3rd, which is when countries will have to indicate which clubs qualify for the Champions League the following year, so the last football weekend should be on August 1st, although we still have to rely on European competitions, which are usually the sunset of the seasons.
In Portugal, for example, we still have ten rounds to be played as well as a Portuguese Cup Final. And even considering two matchdays a week – since there are no more Portuguese teams in European competitions – it is likely that the Portuguese League of Clubs and Football Federation will need about a month and a half to complete their calendars.
So, looking at the time limit set by UEFA, it is clear that competitions will not be able to resume much beyond mid-June otherwise they will not be completed. On the other hand, and after a long competitive break it is expected that the teams will need about 10/12 days to recover part of their physical indexes as home training is not compared to joint training in situations where often match scenarios are simulated.
All this serves to elucidate the player that it will be crucial that there is a green light by the end of May, i.e. that players can finally get together normally in training centres to regain part of their form before they compete again in mid-June.
MORE SERIOUS CASES ON MAJOR EUROPEAN LEAGUES
If in the national case there is the ironic advantage that there are no longer any clubs in the UEFA Europa League or Champions League, the same is not true in the Premier League, La Liga, Italian Serie A or Bundesliga, that still have several teams on several fronts.
English football will be in the most delicate situation because it still has nine Premier League rounds to be played and an FA Cup that is only in the Quarterfinals so far. In addition, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United,
Arsenal and Wolves are still in the European competitions, with four of those clubs still being involved in the three competitions in dispute, and therefore with truly infernal calendars until the end of the season, should they wish to complete it in good time.
Mais uma reunião da UEFA termina. Ainda não há datas exatas para o retorno das competições. Amistosos de seleções em Junho foram adiados. Datas de mercado de transferência e registro de jogadores também serão alteradas.#FCBayern #MiaSanMia #ChampionsLeague #UEFA #Deutschland pic.twitter.com/yobJWhe5h6
— FC Bayern Brasileiro (@eFCBayernBR) April 1, 2020
The Italian league is also lagging far behind, having been the first to stop because of the Covid-19 outbreak, with 12 rounds still to be played which certainly presupposes almost two months of uninterrupted competition, something that will not be easy to plan.
Juventus, Atalanta, Napoli, AS Roma and Inter Milan are still on European competitions, something that obviously complicates matters even further, with some of those clubs also fighting for the Italian Cup in the semi-finals.
In Spain, the scenario seems more feasible given that the Copa del Rey has a final between clubs no longer in the European competitions – Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao – and with eleven La Liga rounds still to play, it will probably be possible to complete the race within a month and a half, roughly.
In Germany, nine rounds of matches are still to be played alongside the German Cup Semi-finals, but it seems relatively clear that the Italian and English competitions will be the ones that could pose the greatest problems.
NO TIME TO BREATHE UNTIL 2023
According to the projections of several experts, this competitive break could plunge football into a hellish phase where rest breaks will be greatly reduced. With the predictable end of the season at the beginning of August, and with the start of the following season not being able to go much further than mid-September, the holiday period will be reduced.
Then we will have a full season that will start slightly later and that will still have Euro 2020, Copa America and Olympic Games in 2021. The 2021/22 season should then run with some normality, however we will have a World Cup in 2022 which will run in the middle of the season – between November and December – so club competitions will have to start a little earlier than normal or finish slightly later.
In short, we’ll have two and a half years that can be absolutely frantic in terms of football. I think it’s safe to say that we might just be taking a deep breath to prepare for the strong emotions that are coming up soon. That’s what we’re hoping for…