With the Onset of Covid-19, the competition was suspended. Many today are wondering when will the English Premier League re-open?
Why Did It Close?
Whilst there is no single reason why the EPL closed, there were stepping stones along the path to this destination.
Some key moments were centred around Arsenal’s match in the Europa League against Olympiakos. The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, was diagnosed positive for the virus after meeting with the manager of the opponents. Since other members of the squad were in a similar position, the squad needed isolation.
The problem was, that shortly afterwards, the Gunners were supposed to play a key match against Manchester City. This match needed to be postponed since Arsenal were to be without both their manager, and several, if not all, key members of their squad.
However, it soon became clear that this wasn’t a problem confined to the Arsenal. And, as in keeping with current protocols in dealing with the Corona Virus, events eventually led to what is basically a lock down of sports activities in the United Kingdom.
When Will This End?
Clearly players do not want to return to action until it is safe to do so. And, with the fatality rate still in the hundreds daily, this is not yet the case. One of the mooted resolutions is to play behind closed doors, without a crowd.
This is certainly possible with one big caveat. Many infected players are asymptomatic, or, don’t show symptoms. Unless each and every player is checked, many could well be infected, and pass the virus, without showing any symptoms. In a short period of time, the virus could spread throughout the league.
So, what is the solution? The latest theory is to play at neutral venues. However, consider what the BBC said about this:
“”Up to 10 stadiums” would be used to resume the 2019-20 campaign.
The Premier League would also need up to 40,000 tests for players and staff if plans to play the 92 outstanding games behind closed doors are pursued.”
The article then goes on to say that sources have said that nothing will be resumed until it is safe to do so. And this is the line that must most be paid attention to.
Several possible resolutions flow, one after the other. But, at the end of the day, whilst the virus is in wide circulation, nothing will be resumed.
What Have We Learned?
Clearly everyone wants the cherished Premier League to resume in the UK. However, there simply cannot be any definite dates until the virus abates. They key now is to make plans for when the virus has passed, not to try to force the issue, whilst health concerns cannot be completely addressed.