BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2019: Aston Villa's Wesley Moraes squares up to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Football restart latest: Lyon claim European date & suggestion to thwart bottom clubs

The football world watches on as the first restart games draw closer, but problems—and potential solutions—are still being faced everywhere.

While Liverpool and the Premier League as a whole are still some way off a decision to continue, let alone the actual logistics of how and where, around the rest of the world some progress is being made.

There have, however, also been a few steps backward, much confusion over the changing approach of different countries and no shortage of in-fighting between clubs, federations and even players.

Here’s all the latest coronavirus x football crossover news across the weekend…


Lyon ‘confirm’ Champions League date…and legal action

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 18, 2017: Olympique Lyonnais' Memphis Depay during a training session at Goodison Park ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match against Everton. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jean-Michel Aulas, president of Lyon, says his team’s Champions League match against Juventus has been “confirmed for August 7 behind closed doors in Turin.”

UEFA have not given any such confirmation, of course, and there’s the domestic angle to consider: Lyon are utterly against the decision to end the campaign and say they, and Paris Saint-Germain, will be “massacred” in Europe if they cannot prepare properly by playing Ligue 1 games.

There’s obviously a bit of self-preservation at play here, but if a date has been put forward for European fixtures it’s indicative of when domestic matches need to be finishing up by.

Lyon have started two legal procedures as they bid to get the season resumed in France, having missed out on Europe by a point as it stands.


Neville hatches cunning plan to hinder bottom clubs

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 19, 2020: Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher (R) and former Manchester United player Gary Neville (L) working for Sky Sports before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Several bottom clubs, Watford the most recent, have voiced their displeasure at the suggestion of having to play games at neutral venues.

Gary Neville’s idea is a pretty simple one: have the Premier League pick their stadiums as the ‘neutral’ venues so that games are still in the ground they want.

It’s a see-through and pathetic attempt to bargain in a no-relegation pact of course, so this method would circumnavigate their argument, though it’s basically giving them home games rather than neutral games.

Jamie Carragher suggested similar, while also pointing out that Spurs played in a neutral venue—Wembley—for a whole season and got a top-four finish.


Squad in isolation puts German plan at risk

If anyone had any doubts as to the precarious nature of football resuming, look to the 2.Bundesliga.

Dynamo Dresden have their entire squad in isolation for two weeks after two players tested positive for coronavirus this week.

They have said they effectively cannot fulfil their fixture on 17 May.


LaLiga clubs return to training

BARCELONA, SPAIN - Wednesday, May 1, 2019: FC Barcelona's Luis Suárez celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg match between FC Barcelona and Liverpool FC at the Camp Nou. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Barcelona are back in training as more LaLiga clubs follow suit.

The groups are staggered, small and have no coaches as yet, and coronavirus testing is to take place on all squad members and staff.

Later on, a group of players will be put into a training camp at a hotel and social distancing will still apply, including in team canteens.

The plan at present is to resume games in June.


Get creative to include fans

‘Behind closed doors’ is going to be a familiar phrase in the football world, so teams will have to try other methods to include fans in their plans.

Danish club FC Midtjylland have introduced drive-in football: fans come in their cars, park up outside the stadium, stay in the cars and watch the games on big screens.

That won’t be feasible at Anfield, but it’s an example of how clubs need to consider all possibilities to keep the support base on-board.


Match reports from…Faroe Islands?

This is where we’ve fallen! BT Sport carried a weekend report of the Faroese league’s return to action, noting that Danish and Norwegian television stations had picked up the rights to show the league.

B36 beat KI 2-0, if you’re interested.

Bring on the Bundesliga, next weekend!