The Premier League and most other football is set for an extended break due to coronavirus, leaving supporters with plenty of questions.
While the situation is constantly changing and evolving, it’s important to view sport’s role in society as an ongoing event – so even with the current pause in play, football will certainly be back.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a Frequently Asked Questions section relating to the coronavirus impact on football, on the Premier League and on Liverpool, to keep fans abreast of the latest updates.
The section will be updated whenever clarifications are offered by the relevant governing bodies or the club, though at present there’s still an element of reasonable guesswork going on as to what happens in the near future.
Last update: Saturday 14, 9:30am — Bundesliga, April restart
When will league action resume?
The English top flight was officially suspended on 13 March and the current plan is to resume matches from 4 April in the Premier League.
With specific regard to Liverpool, it makes our next fixture the away game against Manchester City on Sunday, 5 March.
Should that game go ahead and Jurgen Klopp‘s team win, they would be officially crowned champions.
At this moment, though, there is still an element of wait-and-see about the situation, with the league set to reassess matters before the resumption on 4 April.
Several journalists have suggested that, privately, clubs feel the April re-kick-off is merely a time-buying exercise. There will doubtless be further developments as the crisis escalates on a social scale.
Could the Premier League 19/20 season be voided?
In all probability, and despite the apparent wishes of some club chiefs, no.
This would be a worst-case scenario and the Premier League clearly state they “aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.”
Even if it takes several weeks or months longer to complete the league season and other factors come into play – behind closed doors, shorter turnarounds, anything as yet unthought of – the intent is to finish the season.
So the champions, top four and relegation teams will still be decided?
Again, with the season set to see all fixtures completed, that’s the current plan.
The rearranged fixtures may have to be played at shorter notice or with some other restrictions, but it’s too early to know what.
What about games we’ve bought tickets for already?
Liverpool FC have quickly sought to reassure fans on the matter of match tickets. The relevant part of the full statement reads:
Ticket and bookings already purchased for the postponed Premier League fixtures may still be used for the rescheduled dates, which will be announced in due course.
If supporters are unable to attend any of the rearranged dates then a refund process will be announced at the time the revised fixture dates are announced.
And what about the title parade?
Plans for a title parade through the city were pencilled in for Monday, 18 May.
That would have been the day after the Reds’ last game of the season, away to Newcastle, but with at least two fixtures set to be rearranged that could change.
There’s also the matter of public health and safety to consider, with part of the wider social spectrum fighting the coronavirus spread being the discouragement of large-scale crowd gatherings.
In other countries, limits have been imposed on gatherings of 500, 1000 or 1500; given we can expect well over half a million Reds to attend the title parade, the state of affairs of the contagion spread at the time will have to be taken into account.
Expect further detailed plans to be updated and confirmed on this much later on, particularly once the Reds have accumulated the points required to be officially crowned league champions.
What will Liverpool players do in the meantime?
For Friday it’s business as usual in terms of training. With no games for several weeks, some players will be regaining full fitness and others will be overcoming injuries.
On Friday afternoon, however, it was confirmed that Melwood would be closed and the players given individual training programmes to follow.
This was a voluntary, preventative measure and there is no current date set for the return of the first-team to the training ground.
With travel restricted and no matches, it could simply be a rare opportunity to spend time with family for the players outside of training!
Any further official updates or camps which are planned, we’ll be sure to note here.
Can the European Championships be moved?
This is a much broader question of what happens next.
There has been speculation that Euro 2020 will be pushed back a year, and UEFA are set to meet on Tuesday to decide the next course of action with member states.
Again it will probably depend on how the global pandemic progresses over the coming weeks and months, as to whether it’s feasible to hold the continent-wide tournament this summer.
Factor in extended seasons for domestic leagues, cities and infrastructure having to get back up and running after being locked down and, importantly, the economic and health uncertainty surrounding fans who might have planned to go, and it’s rather difficult to see at this point exactly how Euro 2020 would go ahead.
What other tournaments could be postponed or cancelled?
Most European leagues are already on the same timescale for returning to action as the Premier League. The German Bundesliga was the last to postpone all matches.
Looking further ahead, if the leagues finish late then everything else has less time to run, even without considering Euro 2020.
It may be that fewer fixtures are played next season—the League Cup in England would be an obvious one, or the Nations League on the international scene—while other games such as Champions League and Europa League qualifiers may also feel a knock-on effect, depending on when different leagues wrap up.
Until the action gets back underway and dates for games can be planned out, there’s no knowing what competitions will be affected, or for how long.
What happens with player contracts and loans expiring this season?
Good question – will Marko Grujic be back for the final game?!
It’s unlikely that even if games are prolonged until June and July that returning loanees will be allowed to feature – remember, squads have to be registered and players wouldn’t have been if they were playing elsewhere.
As for expiring contracts, such as with Adam Lallana, it would be fairly routine for clubs and players to agree to a 30-day extension if they wanted and needed, if there was an overlap which did stretch that far into summer.
Whether or not players out on loan could do the same would depend on individual competition rules.
What about the transfer window?
Again, this is one which depends on when the 2019/20 season ends, but there’s not likely to be any change in when the window runs from and until unless the postponements last for many months.
The window shut date is tied to the end of August, or the end of the first month after the season starts. Presumably if 20/21 is bumped a month, so too would the window be.
If we get to May and haven’t gotten much closer to ending the campaign, we’ll revisit this!
Any other knock-on effects?
Timing of resumption of games will dictate everything. If we are back up and running before mid-April, not much else will change other than squeezing in some matches and maybe delaying the Euros.
If we can’t start until the summer, 2020/21 could be anything from a play-each-other-once half-season (as seen in the not-too-distant past in Argentina) to an early realignment of the European calendar to match up with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The winter break, 20/21 season start date, pre-season plans and all the rest will all only be able to be mapped out once we know how long this break lasts for.