One senior figure claims it is morally wrong for football to even be contemplating a return behind closed doors with coronavirus not yet at its peak.
“You look at the people sitting around the Premier League table by Skype; their egos cannot sustain a mirror being held up to them,” they said. “The fact is they are not as important as a Tesco delivery driver at this time. We run a game. No more, no less. There is no place for sport at the moment.”
It was claimed there was a “100 per cent” commitment to completing the 2019-20 campaign following a meeting of all 20 Premier League clubs last week, with the idea of declaring it “null and void” off the table.
Clubs having to pay back £762million in broadcast revenue is thought to be a major contributor in that decision, but some clubs have reservations about resuming football and are reportedly keen for the season to be replayed no matter the consequences.
Karren Brady was hounded for having this view following her column in The Sun, but it appears there are officials from other clubs who privately share her opinion.
One chairman claimed the plan for football to continue is “embarrassing” and claimed: “What we are doing is wrong.”
Several teams are said to be of the opinion that the proposed April 30 return date should not be viewed as a chance to play, rather to buy time for the authorities to negotiate with broadcasters over the size of any rebate.
The next Premier League meeting is scheduled for April 3 and one high-ranking club official said: “I’m hoping the situation changes by then but unfortunately, the world is changing and it’s changing for the worse every day.
“It’s absolutely clear what is going to happen. It’s a worldwide pandemic. You just start (the Premier League season) again and there are very few losers. Liverpool, I know. But in the grand scheme of things, honestly, it really doesn’t matter. You’ve just got to start again.
“This (COVID-19) is going to get worse here (in Britain), so it’s not about players returning to training. If we all stay at home and self-isolate for the next two, three months, we’re going to get through this quite simply. But even then, there’s going to be a period of slow reintegration into normality, otherwise the virus will spike again. So, if we’re lucky, the new season will start in September.
“If they want to say, ‘This season is over and it will be recommencing with the final nine games being played out in September’, fantastic. But if that’s not feasible. Just end this league with whatever consequences that has. End it and say the new league will start in September.
“We look like petulant, ridiculous children now. I passionately believe what we’re doing is wrong. And I would like to think my colleagues now believe that as well, that the world has changed. It’s a scary place at the moment and we’ve got to treat it seriously.”
With Liverpool 25 points clear of Manchester City and on course for their first Premier League title, as well as other clubs fighting for European positions and promotion, many voices in football claim it would be spectacularly unfair to void the season, but one club director feels football has its priorities wrong
They said: “The position we’re taking is ridiculous. There are such bigger issues to deal with yet every question is, ‘Will Liverpool be champions?’.
“It really just doesn’t matter. In world history, this will be recorded as a very challenging time. There is a place for football and entertainment but that’s in a time when there are no troubles and there are no major issues that need to be dealt with.
“At a recent meeting, one club said, ‘Listen, I’m going to let my players go on holiday but if they get stuck because the situation changes, do you think the government will send private planes over to get them so they can play football?’. This is how disconnected and ludicrous they are.”