How many times have we used the picture of the Premier League ball as the lead image of our articles during the Premier League suspension?
Lots of times. Too many times, probably.
That's because our image bank isn't generating new images. Because there's no football happening in England at the moment. Which is the way it should be, dependent on who you're asking.
There's a real appetite from the Premier League, however, to get things going again. So 90min's team have had own their say on whether that's the right thing to do during a global pandemic.
Get in touch with us on Twitter if you have any thoughts, agree or disagree – just click the name to get whisked away into a frenzied argument (or reasoned conversation, if that's more your speed).
Games less than 45 minutes per half? The latest bit of ridiculousness around 'Project Restart' (which is the worst name ever, btw).— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) May 5, 2020
If you can't do it properly, don't do it at all. It's so tedious.
Make the footballers wear masks. Make the footballers not go within six feet of each other, and give yellow cards for heavy breathing.
Change the rules of the game. Make the halves shorter, just because some people seem to think that might stop the transmission of the virus. Or go a step further and spread the matches over a few days because that makes a lot of sense too. Might as well.
Stop tackling and marking at corners. Wash the ball down with an antibacterial wipe every time somebody heads it or picks it up for a throw in.
But goodness, just play the game. Play it abroad, perhaps on Antarctica, because we have to play the game. Somebody once said football is more important than life itself so we have to respect that, and because nothing is more important than money.
Or, consider that everything I've just written there is absolute nonsense. I'm genuinely concerned that there are some valuing football and money over life. The UK has been nowhere near Germany's standard in its response to dealing with this virus, and should not be thinking they're in any position to follow them just because they're in a position to play football again. Or so they think.
But it'll be back. Because of the money. We'll get what we all want because of the money.
I, for one, am not interested.
This season will never be 'completed' in the classic sense.
We'll forever remember this season with an asterisk* next to it, and most likely the same will be said of the 2020/21 season as well.
If you were to look for an almost utilitarian point of view, the season should be voided. It would be the most 'fair' thing for the greatest number of clubs, and would be the only way to give equal treatment to every single team across the football pyramid. However, for some reason, football seems to have transcended fairness, and in many cases rational thought.
We are apparently intent on playing out the remaining games due to a sense of sporting integrity which supersedes anything and everything. In truth, and in recent history, we only ever flirt with this level of integrity when it suits a narrative.
This week we @90min_Football caught up with @BBCSport Football Lead Exec @steve_rudge to talk about how the BBC are keeping football on our screens and keeping footie fans entertained during lockdown.— Ben Haines (@benhainess) April 18, 2020
Have a read here https://t.co/LtpBdqYHpP
(This unwavering ethical integrity seems to have suddenly got lost in the post with the incoming takeover of Newcastle).
So, we'll most likely have to make do with the season finishing behind closed doors, possibly in neutral venues, with a large amount of Covid testing. Players and maybe even matchday media should and will be likely tested once or twice a week which will become a part of football's everyday for the foreseeable future.
The Premier League, who from a communications perspective have been poor over the last six weeks, will have to massively step up their game, and we as people who love football will have to get used to the idea of being able to hear every shout, scream and crunch as it could be a year or so before we see fans in stadiums again.
Done some reading between the lines of UEFA's statement softening their stance on league seasons being finished.— Chris Deeley (@ThatChris1209) April 22, 2020
Feels like we're getting closer to agreeing that 'behind closed doors' is less practical than it looks at face value. @90min_Football ?https://t.co/ldr0aFfPlu
It's time to cancel the Premier League season. Not because it's incredibly unlikely that the 'behind closed doors' plans will work out as planned – although that's true.
Not because Germany (hi Salomon Kalou! You weren't the only one, you were just the only one who got caught!) has already shown that 'Project Restart' is a flawed idea – although it has.
Not because 'Project Restart' is a rubbish name – although it really, really is.
And not because the moral issues surrounding all of the testing needed by the league are icky – although they are.
It's time to cancel the Premier League season because this conversation is so, so boring and maybe it'll make it stop.
Ever feel like someone's swiped your thoughts straight from your brain?
I think a lot of people have thought of how irresponsible it would be for the Premier League to start using coronavirus testing kits for players and staff if NHS workers still weren't being tested and were still struggling for supplies.
It was a thought I couldn't shake for a solid day, and then good ol' Frank Lampard said it on BT Sport about 24 hours later.
As much as we all hate this new normal and want football to return to our screens, any such restart needs to be completely foolproof. And also, if you really think about it, the resumption of football should not be high on anyone's agenda. Let's beat this pandemic first, return to some kind of normality, and then start talking about football games.
Increasingly incensed with each new piece of info about football coming back far too soon— Sean Walsh (@SeanDZWalsh) May 1, 2020
It's absolutely ludicrous that people are thinking about football returning way before it's safe to do so. What is it going to take for the authorities to stop thinking about it? We have no idea how long this is going to last, and really no one in the sport does.
All these crazy suggestions - the masks, the disinfecting of footballs, the CGI fans - at what point does someone with a bit of power stop and go 'you know, this is a bit dystopian, we should really stop for now'?
If worst comes to worst and the pandemic lasts the entirety of the summer, then points per game is probably the fairest method. No relegations, automatic promotions, and extra relegation spots next season to return to formality.
But no talk of kicking a ball.
Honestly, I couldn't care less anymore.
And that's not because I don't like football (I watched Juventus - Sampdoria from the 1994/95 season yesterday for God sake...yes I agree, that's sad). It's not because I would rather watch other things on tv (Normal People is great, to be fair). And it's not because I don't support a Premier League team and have no interest in who wins the league, who gets relegated etc. (although I'd love to see Bournemouth go down and Leeds come up because Bournemouth are just a hipster Wigan Athletic).
It's because I'm tired of people trying to work out what the Premier League should do amid the COVID-19 pandemic - especially when the answer to that question is so bloody simple:
Postpone the league indefinitely.
That's all that needs to be done.
The 2019/20 season doesn't need to finish soon, and the 2020/21 season doesn't need to start in August. The Premier League doesn't need to pull supplies from people more in need to test their players before and after games, and the Premier League doesn't need to needlessly put lives in danger for the sake of Sky Sports tv money.
Football doesn't matter that much - so stop pretending that it does.
Football is my passion and, like most fans, I'd do anything to see the 2019/20 campaign finish as normal.
Anything except putting people needlessly in danger that is, risking health complications and lives for the sake of settling a few unresolved on-field scores.
The reality is that concluding the season should be a complete non-starter, as we simply cannot guarantee the safety of those who would need to be in attendance. We're all growing tired of lockdown, but sacrificing normality for a few months - and the football season for that matter - isn't too much to ask in the scheme of things.
Liverpool should be champions, yes, and the two teams vying automatic promotion should probably come up and form a 22-team Premier League for next season. Any decision beyond that, unfortunately, is above my pay grade.
Just like the next man, woman and child, I would love the Premier League season to resume, but I can't help feeling this is an entirely selfish outlook; this coronavirus isn't all smiles unt sunshine.
But while deep down I have that undeniable yearning for the game to return, do I truly believe that players will play at full capacity in sparsely populated stadiums and not as a squeamish shadow of their normal selves? Sadly not.
The return of the top flight (and Champions League) already presents a seemingly insurmountable logistical nightmare, but, more importantly, we are fundamentally putting players' lives at risk by bringing football back prematurely, plain and simple.
Let it go, Krish (and everyone else), just let it go.
The PL are having a CV nightmare . They keep spouting Health First but then brief constantly “We have to Re-Start”— Gary Neville (@GNev2) May 3, 2020
I’d respect them more if they said “We accept the increase in Health Risk but it’s one we are willing to take” . They won’t as they are frightened to death!
People talk about 'sporting integrity' when it comes to playing behind closed doors and at neutral venues, which would obviously see clubs lose potentially critical home advantage in certain games. But the far greater threat to 'sporting integrity' will come if games restart before players feel safe.
Sergio Aguero said that he and many others are currently 'scared' of playing again.
Any player would be within their right to refuse to play, or those that do play may well, consciously or unconsciously, perform at less than full intensity - whether that be pulling out of tackles to limit physical contact, not marking at set pieces or generally working less hard.
Until social distancing is relaxed - and that could be months - why should footballers, notwithstanding testing, be encouraged to ignore it just for the sake of our enjoyment?
Source : 90min