The great Premier League debate

The Premier League season has been suspended until April 3 (at the earliest) due to the Coronavirus. Danny Caro asks representatives from Jewish football as to how things should progress


I believe the Premier League season should be looked at being extended initially. The Euros will undoubtedly be deferred a year that will free up the close season through June/July and if it is safe to re-start through those months then given the unprecedented situation, that would provide the extra match days. Under no circumstances do I think that games should be played behind closed doors as it takes away that part of football that is intrinsic to the game. If the above is not possible then this season should not impact on next season, which may not even start at the normal time in August anyway. At this point the season should be declared as closed down with a final table but no relegation, promotion or trophies awarded. In an already congested fixture list, adding further matches in and the Euros likely to follow in June 21 means it is not feasible to squeeze the missing matches in. A club would need to have won a league beyond any doubt (meaning mathematically impossible for others to win) before any authorities could acknowledge them as any sort of champions. It would not make a difference to me if it was Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea, Man City, Spurs, Arsenal or Leicester etc. I wasn’t around in the war time but I know the 1939-40 season barely got off the mark with about three matches played and Blackpool at the top as the record books show.

PAUL ROSE (MJSL chairman)


“I think that professional football should be given every possible chance to complete their season. This would mean that the Euros need to be cancelled. If this does happen then Liverpool will get the chance to be crowned rightful champions this season. Obviously everybody’s health has to be paramount at all times and hopefully every league and every Club will have the chance to complete their seasons. Especially Liverpool.” 

ANDY LANDESBERG (manager, London Lions)


I sincerely hope we get to at least play the two games we need to win the title outright. However, I don’t see another game being played this season. To void the season would be incredibly harsh considering how outstanding we have been up until recently. So many suggestions how things will end up. I guess we’ll find out soon. Every Liverpool fan is very nervous we won’t be champions and this is being fuelled by every Man U fan praying we won’t be. Nightmare! Troubling times in the world today and football is way down the list of priorities of most people. We feel the sense of community Jewish football brings is actually more important than ever, but only in a safe environment. 

LEE GLASSAR (head of Junior Football, MLFC)


I'd start with a caveat that we are ordinary citizens with no real knowledge of what's going on. But for what it's worth, I'd like the Premier League to make every effort to play out the remainder of the season at a later date, once it is safe to do so. I think it's pretty inevitable that Euro 2020 won't be going ahead this summer - both from a timings perspective (with the delay to domestic campaigns) but also from a health and safety point of view given the large crowds and huge amounts of travelling involved. So, we'll have a summer to push everything back into. Let's say we have to have three or four months off because of the virus. That means we’d pick back up again late June or July and most likely complete the remaining fixtures by August or September. After that, give the players a very short time off and then start the new season again around September/October time. They won’t need a huge rest at that point - they would have just had one between March and June. If we need to have another short winter break next season to balance this out or do away with the League Cup for one year, so be it. But, unless we're looking at a six month break for example, I think it's very feasible to squeeze the two seasons in together to complete them properly. We're in unprecedented times so we need to be flexible and appreciate things, such as transfer windows, might need to be done differently. What's clear to me though is that this is all very hypothetical and we will simply be dictated to by the experts and authorities.

JAMIE NAGIOFF (manager, Mill Hill Dons)


I think the League should be extended until completion, it may mean we have to write off the 2020/21 season to finish this year, whenever that may be. It may mean the non completion of the Domestic and European Cups but it would be unfair for those teams in relegation and promotion fights to have the season just annulled. Teams are in their positions because of the teams that they’ve faced so far and if they haven’t played equally then there is an advantage for some teams and disadvantage for others.

JORDAN SAPLER (manager, Hendon United Sports)


We live in unprecedented times. We may even live in times where the great Shankly statement “football is not a matter of life and death. It’s more important than that” is null and void. On the one hand the irony is that by Monday night Shankly a team Liverpool could have been champions anyway now but there are many other issues - Champions League places, Europa League places, relegation places to be settled and bankruptcies to be avoided.  It seems to me the logical next move is to defer Euro 2020 to 2021 to allow season 2019/20 in UK and elsewhere a chance to resume and finish before the start of next season. However, this assumes corona will not last more than a couple of months  Failing there being enough time, mini tournaments could be organised instead of the Euros to sort out the issues for next season but that would leave some teams without football. 

If all else fails, and corona hangs around, finishing it now may be the only option as the money at stake from promotions and relegations is too great for some for the season to be annulled and repeated. Football is a lifeblood for many supporters but has had to take second place to life and death, something Liverpool supporters are indeed very frightened of.



If possible, the Premier League season should be given the best opportunity to go the full distance, and if that means postponing Euro 2020 till next summer then so be it. If we're unable to finish the season, then I think results should be null and void, although Liverpool should be given some sort of trophy or award for their season. Ultimately it's an unprecedented situation so we need to act in a way that benefits all clubs - it would be outrageous for them to take the final league table as it is for promotion/relegation/Europe across all leagues.

JACOB EMANUEL (joint-manager, Hertswood Vale)


If the title race was close, I would understand the campaign being considered null and void, but given Liverpool have been so dominant and far ahead in the league, it would be unfair to not give them the title. It won’t feel the same regardless, and if the league is awarded to them without seeing out the season, rival clubs and pundits will still say they never really won it. It’s a no- win to be had for Liverpool in this situation really. As far as Champions League places go, it only seems fair to give the four spots to the teams who have played in the champions league the most since it began in the modern era. The fact Arsenal would be in those four spaces? Just a coincidence... The hardest decision is what to do with those in the relegation battle and those in the top six of the Championship. This affects their clubs more than anyone.

MAX KYTE (joint-manager, MLFC Blue)


Let it be clear, I am far from unbiased, I am a huge United fan and so you can guess my feelings on Liverpool. Seeing them not win the league after their rampaging efforts this season would be beyond delightful, but clearly unfair. There are two points here. Firstly, the point about certainty. The second is the point of complexity. There are nine or ten games still to play. The one constant in football is there are no constants - this is what makes the beautiful game so beautiful. Anything can happen. Ninety-nine times out of 100 Liverpool would win this league, if the fixtures were played out. But the same can be said of many other situations. Leicester's league win was probably greater odds, United winning 2-1 despite being one down with only extra time to play against a formidable Bayern team, or indeed Liverpool themselves being 0-3 down at half-time to AC Milan. The list of these remarkable achievements in football are endless. Would it have been fair for example if the game in Istanbul had ended early due to some unforeseen circumstance to have been awarded to AC?  Let's say that majority of bookies say Liverpool are 98 per cent certain to win the league. They say Chelsea are 55 per cent certain to gain Champion League place. What is the magic number you need to be on or above in order to be awarded the title/position etc.?  I do think this is well beyond a simple question of just Liverpool. This is seriously complex. If we narrow the discussion to just the Premier Division alone then we have so many issues here. Great, so we award the title to Liverpool, but what about relegation and promotion? How about Champions League and Europa League places. Indeed for some clubs the difference between coming just a few places apart could be critical. United for instance are behind Chelsea but are on a roll and have a favourable run in, meaning they have played the more difficult teams, do we just ignore that? The repercussions for United not making CL could have significant long-term consequences. Bournemouth are currently going down but are level on points with the two teams above them, going down for them could mean they never recover. But if you say no they can stay up what impact would that have on teams who have invested heavily in order to gain promotion from the championship? Of course what makes this even more complex is this is far from limited to just England's top two divisions.  I don't think it would be fair for awards and places to be awarded on the status quo. I also do not believe it would be fair to null and void the season either. There is  just too much that is at stake, not just in terms of trophies but financially for so many clubs and institutions. Perhaps cancelling/postponing Euro 2020 and/or delaying the start of next season or finding some other way of playing out the rest of this season What I am certain of is that it cannot be one rule for one, we must be consistent across UEFA.

AVI MARKIEWICZ (manager, Faithfold DocMM White)


Football has obviously taken a massive hit due to Coronavirus but there are several other industries that have been hit just as hard,such as the events and travel industries. We all love football but it’s only a small part of society. Despite the trouble Coronavirus has caused, football does have to carry on afterwards. The PL and the EFL have a tough decision to make. If the Euros are suspended, the Premiership should be settled over the summer. If not, I think the title should be void but Champions League spots should be settled as they are now. However, relegation should also be void for this season and the top two teams in the Championship promoted to make a 22-team Premiership the following season. Four teams should then be relegated in the next season to put it back to a 20 team league. Lower down the pyramid, this may be difficult but we all know the FA are not as concerned about the lower leagues. The ludicrous decision to not postpone National League fixtures last weekend showed this!

JAMES HARPIN (player-manager, North West London Bears)


Common sense and rationale need to prevail amidst the chaos. It's impossible to please everybody. The season should be given every opportunity to be completed. Promotion from the Championship and relegation from the Premier League is huge financially for so many clubs. I would cancel all cup competitions, it would be unprecedented, but it would seem we are living in unprecedented times. If the FA decide for whatever reason the season can’t be completed, then I don’t think anyone would begrudge Liverpool being awarded the title. Obviously no real football fan wants to see the season ended so drastically, but being 25 points clear with nine games to play is as convincing as it gets. 

Allow the hysteria to die down and for everyone to get a grip. Solidarity is key. Ultimately, any decisions made need to be done so in consultation with top medical professionals. Unfortunately what the FA, clubs, you or I think is insignificant. There is no perfect solution.

The world is a very different place to what it was 30 years ago. Social media and technology has had an enormous impact upon all our lives and in many respects not for the better.

TONY GOLD (former manager, London Lions)


Yes, definitely just finish the season as and when they can. Can’t just write off a whole season and can’t just crown Liverpool champions either as what about relegation and other divisions?

RICKY LAWRENCE (player-manager, SPEC FC)


Yes, the season should be extended and I think that will happen with the Euros being cancelled for a year. As much as I do not warm to Liverpool FC in the least, they will be worthy champions – but ONLY if the season is completed. Calling the season null and void is an unacceptable option. But this is not just about one club, it's about all the other major scenarios involving European and relegation places as well.

NIGEL KYTE (Temple Fortune chairman)


Think the league has to be finished and the only way to finish it is behind closed doors. The only alternative is to finish with the current standings.


Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive