'No decisions taken' at Premier League meeting

Friday, 1 May, 2020 159comments  |  Jump to last

The Premier League is no closer to knowing if and when the 2019-20 season can resume but clubs have been told that, if played, the games will be behind closed doors and at neutral venues.

After a meeting of the clubs earlier today, one which focused largely on the logistics of getting players back in training at their team's facilities, the League said in a statement it would "only return to training and playing with government guidance.

"No decisions were taken at today's meeting and clubs exchanged views on the information provided regarding 'Project Restart'".

It's seven weeks since the Premier League was suspended following positive tests for COVID-19 at Arsenal and Chelsea but while all clubs remain committed to playing the 92 remaining fixtures of the current season, they acknowledge that strict medical protocols will need to be enforced.

There was no discussion about voiding the season or calling it over as has been the case in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and France but the nature of the pandemic in England means that it is still impossible to set a date for when matches might resume.

According to reports, the member clubs were receptive to but not entirely agreed on the proposals presented as part of Project Restart, the core of which concerned restricting the remaining games to around 10 neutral venues in an attempt to reduce the numbers of fans who might congregate at them.

There will also be strict protocols around testing, with Premier League clubs believed to have invested in machines capable of turning around coronavirus test results in just a couple of hours, although the BBC suggest that tests would be carried out by health professionals at local drive-through NHS testing facilities.

The new rules would also stipulate that:

  • Players must arrive at training grounds in kit and wear masks at all times.
  • They must not shower or eat on the premises. If clubs want to provide players with food, it must be delivered as a takeaway to players' cars.
  • Only essential medical treatment would be allowed, with all medical staff in full PPE.
  • All meetings and reviews must take place virtually and off-site.

Reader Comments (159)

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John Keating
1 Posted 01/05/2020 at 14:19:58
I see the French government are lobbying the sports authorities of England, Spain and Italy to follow their lead in calling off this season. Seems some support from Italy with the thought if another major league follows France that will be it.

The thing is should it really come from outside pressure? Do the halfwits here not see what's happening in our own country?

I know a number of posters on the site are blaming and calling out the government regarding their handling of the pandemic, however, we shouldn't forget the local authorities either.

Numerous people before, at the time and since have questioned the decisions to allow the Liverpool - Atletico game and the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead. Money and greed.

Ron Sear
2 Posted 01/05/2020 at 16:11:51
I can't help but wonder if spitting will be banned given the potential danger of sliding along with sputum-laden grass in your face. It has to be admitted it's a pretty filthy habit among some players who seem to do it without need and I vaguely remember some attempts to stop it in the long distant past.

Perhaps the FA will penalise it with a very strong frown from the referee, three frowns meaning a yellow card.

Mike Benjamin
3 Posted 01/05/2020 at 16:28:55
The Premier League released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

At a meeting of Premier League Shareholders today, clubs discussed possible steps towards planning to resume the 2019/20 season, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

It was reiterated that the thoughts of all are with those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Premier League's priority is the health and safety of players, coaches, managers, club staff, supporters and the wider community.

The League and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward and will only return to training and playing with Government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers. The League welcomed the creation of the Government medical working group for a return of elite sport, which met for the first time this morning.

No decisions were taken at today's Shareholders' meeting and clubs exchanged views on the information provided regarding Project Restart. It was agreed that the PFA, LMA, players and managers are key to this process and will be further consulted.

The clubs reconfirmed their commitment to finishing the 2019/20 season, maintaining integrity of the competition and welcomed the Government's support.

Looks like they will leave it as long as possible before making a decision. Cancel it now!

Michael Lynch
4 Posted 01/05/2020 at 16:52:35
I understand, though don't agree with, this concept of "maintaining the integrity of the competition", but I can't really understand why the Premier League sees this so-called integrity as the most important factor going forward.

If we're still playing the 19-20 season in the middle of the summer, with the title decided and just mostly meaningless games being played in neutral venues behind closed doors, how does that best serve the future of football?

Personally, I can't think of anything more soul-destroying for the average football fan, or professional footballer for that matter.

Ian Bennett
5 Posted 01/05/2020 at 19:52:24
Germany now delaying football by a week, and Cologne have just announced that they have come down with the virus.

It just all looks a non starter to me. I just can't see it not infecting at least one team and then what?

John Boon
6 Posted 01/05/2020 at 19:59:09
Just read about the Friday meeting of the mindless. From the sublime to the absolutely ridiculous. Not only behind closed doors but also neutral grounds... We are in a very serious health crisis and to show common sense and integrity to the public and the players – just cancel the season.

Give Liverpool a "Good Try" Certificate from VAR, promote the top two in each division so the Premier League will have two extra teams for one season. Oh, and just forget about European games for one season...

And just stop fiddling around with idiotic ideas that may or may not happen depending on Covid-19. Then we can all relax and hopefully enjoy the summer and look forward to next season If we are all healthy.

ps: I am surprised that the "Brains Trust" haven't come up with the most sensible plan. Play one-aside and each team can also bring one supporter in a team-coloured face mask. We could have one Commentator giving the play by play while also refereeing the game. No Refs needed and no VAR.

Steve Pugh
7 Posted 01/05/2020 at 20:10:48
Just a thought on neutral venues. If Wembley is selected, will Spurs be allowed to play there? It isn't that long since it was their home ground.
John Keating
8 Posted 01/05/2020 at 20:57:16
Seems to me the government would have to give the Premier League the okay to ignore social distance, which all experts say is a core defence against the virus.

Now maybe the government may do away with social distance before Premier League teams return to training; if not it will just allow the general public to ignore it, if they see footballers getting away with it.

This government minister is a clown and should be hauled over the coals for pushing this madness.

Michael Lynch
9 Posted 01/05/2020 at 21:05:12
If they really want to finish the season, and still keep it exciting, they should take a leaf out of the lower leagues' book and get the top four to play off at Wembley for the title.

I mean, a team in the Championship can finish 25 points above another team, but still have to beat them in the play-offs to get promoted – and it's usually the most nail-biting part of the season, so why not introduce it to spice up the Premier League season?

Chad Schofield
10 Posted 01/05/2020 at 22:18:41
Michael Lynch @4 is completely right, it will be largely a waste of time and (although it's a minuscule violin for footballers and their wages) players are people too. Having your nose and throat scraped twice a week and running about wearing a mask is going to take its toll... and eventually players will flaunt the rules (much to the delight of the papers).

How neutral are any grounds really for most Premier League teams? People will be emboldened to ignore social distancing the minute they see a corner in a match.

It's stupid and reckless to try and get this going until lockdown is at least loosened quite significantly.

Neil Hutchinson
11 Posted 01/05/2020 at 22:48:53
I think that the whole season should end now. It's money that's driving it, and as a sporting tribute, I believe that it should commemorate all the people who have been taken prematurely by this virus and remembered as the year that never was in sporting terms.

The winning of trophies, championships, promotions and relegation would be an empty chalice, and I believe the fans and those affected personally by this at least would have a moment in history of this episode in human tragedy rather than a trophy in a cabinet. It needs to be stated.

I may be in a minority, but I have my conscience and inner self to consider. I really don't know where this goes from here. I am hoping beyond hope really that good people in sport will conclude the business and prepare for a new tomorrow. Finish the season now.

Paul Hewitt
12 Posted 01/05/2020 at 22:56:38
How hard can it be? Give the RS their title, then void the season.
Patrick McFarlane
13 Posted 01/05/2020 at 22:57:05
According to The Mirror, the top six clubs are pushing for the completion of the season with the rest wanting it to be curtailed.

I don't imagine that the top six mentioned refers to those occupying those current league placings.

A suggestion to expand the 2020-21 Premier League to 22 teams has not gone down well with the Championship although the report says they could agree if the English Football League is awarded the parachute payments that would have gone to the relegated clubs.

I think the PFA will be the most influential organisation in this sorry affair as they represent the players and are therefore responsible for their health and well-being.

James Flynn
14 Posted 01/05/2020 at 23:04:36
I wonder if this means the networks (Sky, etc), the Premier League, and the PFA have an agreement on the money? I haven't read anything about that.

How can any resumption of play occur with the financial situation resolved?

Simon Dalzell
15 Posted 01/05/2020 at 23:28:54
Has to be scrapped. A massive palaver for something very few desire.
Andy Crooks
16 Posted 01/05/2020 at 23:43:11
The attempts to try and finish the season are shameful and disrespectful. Are there no depths to which they will not sink? This the lowest point in the history of football.

The Premier League are without shame, integrity, decency and any respect for those who have died and those who tried to save them.

James Flynn
17 Posted 01/05/2020 at 00:05:05
Simon (15) - "A massive palaver for something very few desire."

So far off the mark as to not even be on the map. There will be TV/online viewership-smashing ratings.

You included.

James Flynn
18 Posted 02/05/2020 at 00:39:32
Patrick (13) - "According to The Mirror, the top six clubs are pushing for the completion of the season with the rest wanting it to be curtailed."

I'll call bullshit on The Mirror.

Likely clubs really, really wanting the financials with TV sponsors to be settled first: Norwich, Southampton, Villa, Bournemouth, Watford, B&HA, Palace, Burnley, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Sheffield United. Everton too.

Karl Masters
19 Posted 02/05/2020 at 00:45:21
I think you're wrong there, James. I can't see me watching some silly training-ground matches on telly.

The season is over. Just start again next season with the same divisions as last August.

The season was ruined by VAR anyway. I'm not interested.

Karl Masters
20 Posted 02/05/2020 at 00:52:19
Andy Crook: totally agree, mate. Sickening.
Anthony Murphy
21 Posted 02/05/2020 at 01:16:18
It will be interesting to see pundit reaction if the RS are awarded the title without playing further. The streets and city centre here will be awash with gobshites celebrating... so will the media turn a blind eye or condemn?

Derek Thomas
22 Posted 02/05/2020 at 01:25:19
Paul @ 12; you can't just give it away... or else the media would have the rs champions every season. You have to actually win it - and they haven't.

They 'nearly' won it last season and a 'nearly' won it a couple of seasons ago too. 'Nearly'.

Null and void.

As Eric said, when it's safe for spectators to watch, it will be safe for teams to play.

How many people right now fancy sitting shoulder to shoulder with a 'stranger' and having the guy behind you spraying your head every time he shouts???

James Flynn
23 Posted 02/05/2020 at 01:26:34
Karl (19) – "I think you're wrong there, James. I can't see me watching some silly training-ground matches on telly."

Ah Karl, you wouldn't be ignoring "training-ground matches", now would you?

You, me, and everyone else would be watching competitive matches at the top-end of English football with so much at stake for so many teams.

The Premier League kicks back in? I'll be watching and so will you.

Steve Brown
24 Posted 02/05/2020 at 03:39:50
Cologne have just had three players tested positive on their return to training.
Bob Parrington
25 Posted 02/05/2020 at 04:06:56
I suppose the best thing about this is that it gives us an ongoing topic for comment/discussion. Well, it is the only thing it does in any way positive.

IMO, it just shows that Premier League has become (definitely) a closed shop for 6 or so clubs and now Uefa is looking to take this a stage further. I hate greed and this has greed written all over it.

My other pet hate is waste and this whole thing wastes an opportunity for football to come back to its roots as the game of the people, as distinct from those in the wealthy minority.

The whole thing has quite an odour to it! Sorry, I should just say, "It stinks!"

Eric Myles
26 Posted 02/05/2020 at 04:37:26
Michael #4, "the integrity of the competition" this season has been undermined by the absurdities of VAR.
Jeff Spiers
27 Posted 02/05/2020 at 07:03:27
Will players wear masks on the pitch?!!!

Getting to be a farce... scrap the season.

Darryl Ritchie
29 Posted 02/05/2020 at 07:14:46
As much as I would love to see the season played to its conclusion, with the way things stand right now, I would be very, very surprised if it happened. Too many variables.

The virus is still calling the shots. Not the clubs. Not the league. Not the government. Hell, from everything the experts are saying, even next season isn't going to be cut and dried.

Charlie Dixon
30 Posted 02/05/2020 at 07:40:19
I have to say that I'm quite surprised at the reaction on here.

Clubs (including us) have a huge amount at stake if the Premier League isn't finished. The legal disputes between broadcasters, sponsors, suppliers and even ticket holders are an absolute disaster for clubs.

Now I totally understand the sensitivities around the situation and, if the decision was needed to be made as we stand today, then it gets called off without a seconds thought. However, we are talking about the possibility of resuming in 6-8 weeks time.

Just 7 weeks ago today, I was struggling with an almighty hangover from Cheltenham. The world has changed in that time in a way in which no-one can quite fathom. In 7 weeks, the world will have shifted again and hopefully this time for the better. In fact, if you look at data elsewhere, you'd hope the deaths would have all but dried up and the country will be looking to get back to some form of normality.

The government themselves are keen to get live sport back on ASAP. They feel it will lift the mood of the country and will in turn add some relief to those being continued to ask to stay at home and away from pubs etc. Sadly the stadiums will stay empty for some time... perhaps even into 2022... so, for those thinking that next season starting in August or September wipes the slate clean and everything will be back to normal are sadly way off the mark.

Eddie Dunn
32 Posted 02/05/2020 at 08:20:12
Whatever happens regarding this season or next season, football, the Olympics, Wimbledon, cricket etc, etc — we have all had time to reflect on the absurdity of elite sport and the relationship with TV and the broadcasting rights. The huge sums of money have ruined genuine competition.

The rewards are so great that today's sporting superstars (or even journeymen pros) soon become out of touch with reality. The media and sporting governing bodies become complicit in perpetuating the gravy train. The result is corruption and greed.

Cyclists (as well as many athletes) using banned drugs; boxing has always had dodgy results, and boxers are routinely kept away from more dangerous opponents, maximising their revenue streams. Everyone knows that (in boxing) it is very hard for a Brit to win on points in the US.

The introduction of video refs has distorted many rugby matches, the technology in Cricket has allowed clearly "out" players to continue their innings.

Football has VAR bringing not fairness but another tier of bias and 'interpetation' – to the detriment of "lesser clubs".

These developments help to perpetuate the staus quo, ringfencing the revenue streams. The TV has distorted sporting integrity leading to the sort of meeting the football clubs had the other night. The leaders of our sporting bodies are so dependent on TV money to sustain the bloated, cash-soaked festival of gain that sense can be swept away as the need for more grows.

We consumers of the product are usually ready to accept the conveyor belt of televised sporting fun. The Ashes, Grand Slam tennis, etc. Here, we are with sport non-stop: the TV, media, sporting bodies with the legs taken from under them. They are starting to panic. Moneymen are demanding returns both financially and on the pitch.

The house of cards has fallen... I always thought it would take a world war or invasion of aliens to achieve it but this pandemic has done it. The longer it goes on, the closer to reality the inhabitants of the elite sports world come.

People have realised that non-stop football coverage is not necessary. I can honestly say that, with the reality of what is going on in hospitals, I couldn't give a toss about football right now. Perhaps the sports & media gravy train has gone off the rails for good.

Michael Lynch
33 Posted 02/05/2020 at 08:27:11
Charlie - fair points, but if you envision the stadiums staying empty until 2022, are you suggesting that games will continue to be played behind closed doors until then?

On that basis, I assume you also picture theatres, cinemas, cricket and rugby grounds, live music venues, festivals, pubs etc also being closed or cancelled into 2022? If so, perhaps a better idea would be for football to be on hold until the 2022-23 season, and all players put on furlough until then, or their contracts cancelled. The clubs will have as much chance of surviving as all the other entertainment businesses.

Alternatively, if next season is going to be played behind closed doors in its entirety, can the players be expected to finish the old season and immediately start the next season?

Karl Masters
34 Posted 02/05/2020 at 08:34:38
James Flynn. Really I won't be watching. I'll keep an eye on results till we are safe from relegation, but this season was a pile of shite before all this. VAR and all the rest of it.

Who wants to be in Europe next season anyway? Who knows if next season will be anything like normal? I'm just looking forward to season 21-22 before ‘normal' has fully returned.

Charlie Dixon
35 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:12:14

I certainly hope it's not the case but, until there's a vaccine, it's hard to imagine any form of large gatherings anywhere. Now to suggest that football is pointless without a crowd is another discussion.

Personally, I'm as happy watching park games as the Premier League, so I'd consume any form of football. The production of the games I'm sure would be excellent and perhaps more emphasis on stats etc will be used to carry the games along. There's even talk of using Augmented Reality for crowds and noise etc.

The idea of not watching Everton in any guise until we have full stadium seems fairly depressing but I get your point. What it would mean, however, is that clubs would ultimately suffer massively. Hard to imagine many surviving. Add to the fact that leagues elsewhere start later this month and you would have a huge player mutiny.

Obviously there's no ideal solution here, but I think we must try and look forward and having the footie back would certainly help create some sense of normality.

Charlie Dixon
36 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:17:47
And sorry... in regard to finishing one season and starting the next, I'd have to say Yes!

The players have been off for the past 7 weeks and the Premier League could look at a break in January.

It's all moving parts now and clearly not ideal but the emphasis should be on trying to get things back up and running – not cancelling or postponing.

Michael Lynch
37 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:29:18
Cheers, Charlie – but on your point of leagues starting elsewhere this month, I think more will be scrapped than resume. At least that's how it's looking at the moment. Plus there's the European competitions – how do you shoehorn those in, and how can they be played with the current travel restrictions?

And, of course, a number of Premier League players have returned to their home countries and may be unable to travel back to the UK, and unwilling to then play non-stop from June until May (even allowing for a short winter break, which would be hard to fit in if the 20-21 season is delayed by even a few weeks).

Patrick McFarlane
38 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:40:17
Perhaps it's an age thing or maybe it's because I've always preferred to go to Goodison to watch Everton. I used to go to many away games too, but watching Everton playing a top-flight match on the telly in an empty and neutral stadium just doesn't float my boat.

"I was there" is one of the great parts of sport for devoted fans... "I watched it on the telly" – although better than missing out completely, is a very poor relation.

Growing up, my generation was spoilt, because most of the great sporting encounters were beamed directly into our living rooms for the price of the TV licence fee: FA Cup Finals, Wimbledon, Cricket, Golf, Formula One etc, etc – and, as a young person, I couldn't get enough of it. But, as Eddie @32 says, sport has been tainted by Television.

Television created the mass audience that attracted sponsorship and sponsorship inevitably led to the commercialisation of sports.

Major sponsors, agents, advertisers all want to be associated with the winners and seemingly they either actively encourage or collectively turn a blind eye to the cheating of the participants and the governing bodies so long as they get the winners they are in partnership with or which bring the greatest rewards to their companies via revenues.

Broadcasters and the media really don't care about the integrity of sport so long as the number of subscribers continues to increase or if they can attract enough advertisers to pay crazy amounts to have their product placed in prime position.

There is a discussion on another thread about the bastardisation of club names by attaching animal names etc to those institutions and it won't be too long before the FA Cup Final will have as its participants as Barclays versus Standard Chartered, with both teams wearing kits that resemble the insignia of those companies. That may not bother the average viewer but, to those of us who are attached to a particular club, it may be the death knell for our own involvement and support of the sport.

I did subscribe to pay TV many moons ago but, although it was enjoyable to begin with, I soon became tired of the endless chit-chat by former professionals advocating this or that, spouting obvious mis-truths whilst promoting certain clubs or individuals for no apparent good reason. I now see those individuals for what they are: mouthpieces of the sponsors and advertisers, they have infiltrated every nook and cranny of the media and they get paid to give an opinion so long as that opinion fits in with the sponsor's message.

Football sold out to the broadcasters many years ago, and this unseemly attempt to complete this season behind closed doors – even if it is proven to be safe to do so – shows that whoever pays the piper calls the tune.

Martin Nicholls
39 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:42:08
As others have pointed out, if the Government takes the reckless and irresponsible decision to allow these absurd charades to go ahead, thousands more lower down the football pyramid will be getting their kit out and heading to the nearest pitch or other open space for a kickabout. Bingo – all our efforts in complying with social distancing etc nullified at a stroke!

James F – any chance of predicting what I will be watching on TV tonight? I'll let you know tomorrow if you were right! For the record, I will be one of many thousands (I base this on the general views of my matchgoing mates – a reasonably representative cross section) who will not be watching "behind closed doors" farces, whatever you might tell me I will be doing!

Martin Nicholls
40 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:50:12
Charlie #36,

We had a winter break a few months back, an idea championed and lobbied for by Klopp. Had we not done so, the rs would almost certainly have already secured the Premier League title and there would be far fewer outstanding games left now.

Thus, the push to have Liverpool confirmed as Champions would already have been met and the unseemly greed driving this move to play out a dead season would be nowhere near as desperate. The nation's "morale" would no doubt not then be a factor.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 02/05/2020 at 09:59:17
Patrick (38), a very good post. You spoke for me with every word of it, and I suspect many more on here.
Charlie Dixon
42 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:01:59
Other leagues will resume. Portugal and Germany will be first. If all are scrapped, then obviously the Premier League will follow suit. European football has to be scrapped. That's a problem for Uefa who have the funds to deal with the implications.

As long as testing isn't being taken up where needed elsewhere and it gives the country a bit of a lift, then I'm all for it. If the government stick to the current testing rates, then, in 50 days time, that will be circa 6M tests. That should have addressed all that need to have been tested and then some.

The empty stadiums are far from ideal. No one wants that but to say that football should be scrapped rather than continued in some form is rather extreme.

As for people's issues with broadcasters and sponsors, then that is something which naturally comes with the level of interest and subsequent reach the Premier League brings globally. The demand is there and the financial numbers echo that demand.

Just Eat used to pay 㾺M a year to sponsor the X-Factor!!! This is the world we live in. If there wasn't the investment from broadcasters and sponsors, then the offering (production and content) and standard of football would clearly be affected.

Paul Birmingham
43 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:02:42
Andy Crook, you've nailed the point.

It's disgusting in the main that these shallow frauds of people at the Premier League, Sky, BT, DCMS, can even consider such a plan at a time when there's no full understanding of this disease and currently no cure.

These aforementioned really don't have a connection with football, supporters and mankind. Corporate bull, and clearly they have no conscience.

Declare the season null and void and respect all those that have died, the bereaved, and the poorly, and those of us in society struggling to survive this pandemic.

All stay safe and well.

Dave Ganley
44 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:04:41
Patrick #38 took the words right out of my mouth. Personally, I rarely if ever now watch any random games on tv; that spark left me years ago. Football on TV reached overkill a long time ago. I only watch Everton on TV if I can't get to an away game and, even then, the thought of playing "home games" somewhere in the Midlands, maybe with nothing to play for, well it's just a pointless exercise.

Football in general behind closed doors is a pointless exercise. Fans create the spectacle: without fans, professional football is nothing; may as well just go to a park and watch a kick around.

James Flynn, you may be desperate to watch any old kind of football, but I'm not. They talk about the integrity of the Premier League, well this just confirms that there is no integrity by playing games behind closed doors and at neutral stadiums. I would be more impressed by the powers that be if they just came out and said "Look, we need the TV money so we are going to play these games anywhere just so we don't get penalised." Then, at least you'd have the first honest statement by them.

Until I am able to actually go to a stadium and watch football first hand, then I'm just not bothered. For me, football without fans is just a pointless exercise.

Paul Birmingham
46 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:16:27
Spot on, Dave, what's the point in playing a pretend match?

Why is the Premier League blatantly bending the government's rules?

It's a very low point, amongst many low points, in the times of this country.

Charlie Dixon
47 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:20:20
All interesting points...

Will be interesting to see the viewing numbers if it comes back on. Would appear that a lot on here won't be tuning in. Initially, you'd assume higher figures globally. Whether that would maintain the case is hard to say.

Patrick McFarlane
48 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:20:32
Charlie #42,

If there wasn't the investment from broadcasters and sponsors then the offering (production/content) and standard of football would clearly be affected.

I shudder to think about how bad the standards would be without those investors because, from what I've seen in recent times, is a decline in the standard of play from most top-flight players.

It wasn't that long ago that many clubs had real star players who were worth watching. Now, there are far fewer of them, spread amongst even fewer clubs.

Many players at many clubs are over-paid journeymen and it shows – so the investment doesn't seem to be having the desired effect and paying somebody vast amounts doesn't automatically improve their natural skill-set.

Ian Riley
49 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:20:35
What is the point in finishing the season? I love my football but football at the risk of life and many hundreds passing away daily still. France have done the right thing. All leagues are over 70% through. All leagues should finish now as the league positions are.

Two points that must be considered with this virus. The death rate is much higher in men than women. Further to the information available, ethnicity is a factor in the death rate. It's life and death now we are talking about. The risk is too high! End the season now!!

Mike Hughes
50 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:21:24
John Boon #6,

“Cancel the season” – agree
“Give Liverpool a good try certificate” – disagree.

The RS have won nothing yet.

Give them nothing except a stiff middle finger.

There is no way this season should even be considered for resumption under any circumstances other than when general society can return to ‘normal' as well. Only greed is driving Project Restart.

When football returns with this season having been voided, we should hold a Steau Bucharest banner up with “25 points and 30 years“ painted over it and a big smiley imoji. Screw them.

Ken Kneale
51 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:21:34
Patrick – maybe it is an age thing but I agree with every word of a very well put-together post.
Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:29:30
Darryl @29, the virus is still calling the shots. In a nutshell, unfortunately, and when I read the last part of this report, I just find some of the things they are suggesting will be totally unworkable.

Players can't keep black armbands on – imagine them trying to run around wearing masks?

We are talking about football, a close contact sport, to both your teammates and your opponents, and definitely not an environment for any kind of social distancing?

I liked a lot of your post, Eddie @32, the level playing field has long gone (acceptance being the saddest part) and the lyrics of The Jam singing Funeral Pyre are in the forefront of my mind right now.

This could change; surely there is a lot more integrity in promoting the top two Championship teams into the big division, and filtering the parachute payments right across the board for the rest of the Football League, especially in such bad Financial Times, which is what Patrick writes about @13.

Some people will lap it up; Charlie @35 gives his reason, and I'm sure there are millions of other people who will have the same thoughts.

The only person I can't agree with is James @23 because, although I might watch 4-5 of these 92 games if they are played, I doubt I will watch many more, especially if it's sunny and I can go and sit in my garden, honestly mate.

The landscape might change, but how any person can use the word “integrity” at a time like this, especially to try and justify playing football, is something that actually makes me feel a bit sick.

People are having something that amounts to no more than “paupers funerals” — all over the country right now, with no more than ten people being allowed to properly pay their respects, because of social distancing, but football is different?

Maybe it's a good thing for some but it's definitely not a good thing for many others is how I feel about football starting again right now.

Mick Conalty
53 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:37:46
Eddie #32, Patrick #38 – anyone with any intelligence would have to agree with you both of you.
Tony Abrahams
54 Posted 02/05/2020 at 10:56:18
Charlie @42, talk about missing the point mate, but six million being tested is adequate? The majority of people who get the Coronavirus show no symptoms. If you've got no symptoms, how do you find out if you've got/had the virus?

The obvious answer would be when someone close to you gets the virus as well and then you might found out that you've also got it as well!

The only way to stop the spread of this virus is to test, test and test! In an island with over 60 million occupants, you think testing 10% of the population is adequate? I personally can't see it going away for a few years, at that rate.

I agree with Eddie and Patrick. Patrick has just written one of the most sensible things I've ever read on these pages, imo.

Rob Halligan
55 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:00:35
Sergio Aguero has openly admitted that he and many other players would be scared of returning to play competitive games.

Players may well be tested prior to games (I read somewhere where the result of a virus test can be produced within two hours), but once out on the pitch, players will be wary of coming within close contact with another player.

There will be no tackling, no man to man marking, no aerial challenges, in fact no physical contact whatsoever. How are the RS going to win their penalties? It will simply be a competitive "training ground" match.

I also agree with Mike #50. The RS haven't won the league yet, so give them sweet FA.

Many years ago, I failed a promotion exercise at work by one solitary point. Did the promotion board turn round and say to me, "You were so close so we will give you the promotion anyway"? Did they fuck. (I blame John Raftery for that, don't worry he'll understand. 😂😂😂) So, until the RS actually win it, then they shouldn't just be given it.

Talking of watching games on TV, all the RS fans do it every week so it will be nothing new for them.

Billy Roberts
56 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:04:38
Martin @39 & 40,

Two excellent posts. A point you have made that seems to be eluding the people at this meeting is, if they can bend the social distancing rules, why can't the rest of society?

As you say, all the good work and compliance of the UK public will disintegrate very quickly.

Imagine being a Police Officer turning up at Sefton Park, for example, to find hundreds of people playing footy, having BBQs, sitting around drinking playing music etc.. The control they had will be gone.

When we come on a site like this, we are with like-minded individuals, we get a skewed version of the world outside us.

Not everyone is into sport as much as us, think of your work colleagues and family and then think how many of them care for the priority of sport and the morale it may bring? They represent millions – don't forget that.

James Flynn, I personally disagree. I've posted before about this but, once the morbid fascination of watching the first game dies off, the absurdity of it all will hit home.

Frank Crewe
57 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:11:26
Looks like the gravy train has come off the rails and they are doing all they can to lever it back on again. That is what they are really afraid of.

If football remains stopped long enough, we may wean ourselves off their "product" and start spending our money and time on other healthier and more productive past times than watching a bunch of millionaires who earn more in a week than the rest of us see in 10 years kicking a ball around.

Charlie Dixon
58 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:14:19
Tony, completely fair points.

I guess my opinion is that the world will be (hopefully) a different place in 6-7 weeks. It may be that in 4 weeks time we and the players have a different perspective and hopefully many less people will be dying or in hospital. As I said, it would give a lot of people a bit of a lift and that's important too.

I don't think anyone with a sane mind would want the season to start if we were in even a similar position to how we are now but to have a contingency and a government-led project to potentially have football back and only when the time is right seems sensible and not insensitive, in my opinion.

Brian Harrison
59 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:25:58
I see the Daily Mirror is saying this morning that there is a split between what the top 6 want and what the rest of the Premier League want.

I heard the Brighton chairman being interviewed yesterday and he said he could not agree to games at a neutral venue. But seems Brighton is being considered as one of the neutral grounds as well as Southampton and the Etihad.

Regarding the integrity of the competition, well how does playing games at a neutral stadium maintain the integrity? Some clubs will have more home games left than away, so they lose that advantage.

But isn't it amazing that this is their 2nd meeting and they have now decided to speak to the players, their employees? You would have hoped that they would have been already talking to the players.

I see in Germany that 2 or 3 Cologne players have tested positive, so what happens there? Do they just exclude these players and carry on?

I said a couple of days ago about Dybala from Juventus, he has now apparently been tested 6 times and each time the test comes back positive, without showing any symptoms, so I guess he won't be able to take part if the Italian league returns.

Paul Birmingham
60 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:34:33
Frank @57, you're right: life and the world as we know it will never be the same again.

I've good friends on furlough, and pay, pensions etc will be skewed for donkies years.

The morals and genuine value of football in such times that it brings will be brought to critical scrutiny.

The Premier League is pro rata, the most expensive league for ticket prices in the Central European belt of Uefa. Does anyone believe down the line that the Premier League will show fortitude and reflect on what's happened to society?

People dying by the score every few minutes across this country and the world, and these Premier League, Sky, BT, people purely motivated by lust for control and greed for money, want to falsify the spirit and ethics of the game, and pretend to play behind closed doors.

Follow the common sense and pragmatism, shown by The Dutch and French Leagues. Let's not forget, this country's Covid-19 death rate will be the highest in Europe.

Conscience, integrity, the circus that the Premier League, Sky, BT Sport etc don't know the meanings and rationale of these words. They are disrespectful and selfish, beyond words, to even consider such a scam.

The Premier League really have lost the plot.

Billy Roberts
61 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:43:08
Charlie @58,

I think the world you imagine in 6-7 weeks will be optimistically like the world we left behind before the Virus took hold.

I would love it to be back to pre-Covid-19 world but it's not going to change back anytime soon. A bit like the way Lockdown can be implemented overnight but cant' just be lifted overnight.

Furthermore, if the conditions to play football safely and not contradictory to what our Government is telling Joe Public to do is 7 weeks away, is that not too late? Uefa have given a "cut-off point" where all leagues will have to abandon. I may be wrong, I thought it was mid-June.

Eddie Dunn
62 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:45:15
Martin @40, how ironic it would be if the midwinter break cost the mighty reds the title.

After the fairytale was ruined by the indefatigable Man City last season, the media were determined that the story would end well for those lovable, noblest of football clubs, who amazingly had never won the Premier League.

The script was written. It was supposed to be the year they won everything. Okay, he rested some players in the cup games but Premier League and Champions League were going to be theirs.

The powers-that-be even sanctioned that disgusting night with 3,000 Spaniards in the City. The result was their just desserts but the sickness that may have been spread was testimony to the selfishness and arrogance that infests that club.

Chris Williams
63 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:53:52
Interesting news that Virgin and O2 are discussing a merger to challenge Sky and BT, In the UK

Lots of change in the air, and more challenges to the established order.

Eric Myles
64 Posted 02/05/2020 at 11:55:45
Tony #54 "The majority of people who get the Coronavirus, show no symptoms. If you've got no symptoms, how do you find out if you've got/had the virus?"

And you are not sick from it, these are the asymptomatic or "carriers". So, on release of any lockdown, there is going to be a second wave as these carriers go into the community.

The only ways to prevent this happening are to:

1) Ttest everyone in their homes before lockdown is released... and isolate the carriers until a vaccine is found to stop them spreading the virus.

2) Find a vaccine and innoculate everyone in their homes before they are allowed out.

I'd bet neither is going to happen, so, welcome to a second wave and 'herd immunity' or continued lockdown.

Viet Nam has announced that the country will return to normal from 4 May, after their weekend of national celebrations, so a good opportunity for other nations to see if a second wave of asymptomatic carriers has much effect.

Eric Myles
65 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:07:51
Paul #43, is there any evidence that Sky, BT and all other broadcasters are pushing for the games to be completed?

I've not heard anything. Sure they'll lose some revenue from advertising and subscriptions but if they're not paying out to the leagues then they'll still survive on the profits that they've made already. And survive much better than most clubs.

Eric Myles
66 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:09:16
Martin #40, spot on.
Brian Harrison
67 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:11:13

I, like you, would like to know the answer to the question: If people have tested positive for the virus yet show no symptoms, are they still contagious?

Only a week ago, Dalgleish was in hospital for a routine operation and he tested positive with no symptoms and they let him home 2 days later.

Eric Myles
68 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:19:26
Brian #67, and it is those with the virus but no symptoms that are needed in order to develop a virus. What do they have that makes them immune? How do we replicate it?
Brian Harrison
69 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:46:28

Well so far there has been no 2nd wave in China or South Korea and they must have people who have the virus yet show no symptoms. The only new cases in Singapore have been brought in from visitors coming from outside the country.

Eric Myles
70 Posted 02/05/2020 at 12:57:52
So why the scaremongering in the UK press about a 'second wave', Brian?

Let's hope it doesn't materialise and things get back to normal.

Isn't there a footballer who's been tested positive 6 times but is not sick?

Tony Everan
71 Posted 02/05/2020 at 13:00:29
They can't make any decisions, it isn't up to them.

If it isn't safe, it will not restart by the law of the land. There's so much money at stake, they will find a controversial and arguably unsafe way to restart with strict guidelines and monitoring.

Sadly, if there was not 𧿘m involved, it would have been abandoned and voided by now.

Jim Bennings
72 Posted 02/05/2020 at 13:14:24
They should just make the decision now to null and void ALL the league's in this country, that way nobody is getting preferential treatment.

You can't hand Liverpool that title but deny Leeds or whoever the chance to win promotion just as same that you can't relegate three teams that all might survive.

The resumption of games at selected venues is ridiculous and feels rushed because they haven't got a scooby doo what they are doing.

Null and void the season, contact fans all over the country that are owed considerable amounts of money from season tickets purchased both from the remaining games this season and the renewal of next season (many will have renewed as early as January) surely the every day person that pays good money to watch football deserves some kind of consideration in this and where their money is going to go?

Then everyone knows exactly where they stand and people and players/clubs, the FA all have time to come up with a serious plan of starting the new season maybe by the end of August with a bit of luck.

One thing however that's certain is that supporters will not be attending matches again for at least 12-18 months.

Logging on to the official Everton website they are still going on about fans renewing their season tickets for next season and extended deadlines, they need to wake up and smell the coffee (and I'm talking all clubs, not just us) that fans will not be going to matches next season.

Michael Lynch
73 Posted 02/05/2020 at 13:59:44
Imagine for a moment that the gloomiest predictions are correct, and the entire 20-21 Premier League season is played behind closed doors. Now stretch your imagination even further and imagine we won it. How would you feel?

Every game played to silence, or the sound of piped fans singing? No meeting your mates for the match, talking shite, abusing the ref etc. Probably not even the opportunity to watch the match in the pub and talking even more shite after a few bevvies? No lap of honour, no parade, no thrill of packing into Goodison to watch the best Everton team since the Kendall era?

My first thoughts are that it would depend if you were a regular match goer or not. And more broadly it would depend on which club you support. We are a famously local club, with one of the biggest walk-up crowds in the country. So I think it would matter much more to us than to the average Man Utd or RS fan, who probably never has and never will get to visit their home ground.

But it would still matter. Would even the most far-flung RS glory-hunter get any joy from a title that wasn't won in front of a flag-waving, iPad toting, badge-wearing Kop full of those loveable arseholes who favour the red shite?

If we are to be subjected to a season of soul-destroying, mind-numbing football in empty neutral stadiums, then it should at least be for a one-off trophy, not the Premier League title.

Jim Bennings
74 Posted 02/05/2020 at 14:29:44

It's just something I think we'll all get used to in time (behind closed doors – not us actually winning it, lol).

Even if say, for example, in January 2021, someone came out from the government and says it's all okay now for everyone to go back to the match, how many fans will really feel comfortable in the middle of winter, smack bang in flu season, sitting shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others?

There will be no vaccine available until the middle of next year at the very earliest, that's the only way peace of mind will resume to society.

I hate the idea of soulless football at selected glorified parks with no atmosphere, no intensity, maybe it's even better to just suspend football for 18 months altogether, like in the war years?

If it returns behind closed doors and we win it, it won't feel the same, that's true; I'll celebrate it but it will feel hollow, much like even if Liverpool are handed the title tomorrow, with their last match being March 9th, a hollow victory – no matter what way you sugar coat it.

That's why for me the most sensible decision is the easiest decision.

Null and void.

Jim Wilson
75 Posted 02/05/2020 at 15:13:40
The season is over. Pointless to try and finish it in ad hoc and risky fashion

Give Liverpool the trophy they are fixated about, they were obviously going to win it. But no parade. Tuff.

For the rest, it is start again... unfair on some I know, but the only safe and sensible way

Jim Bennings
76 Posted 02/05/2020 at 15:33:09

They should not give Liverpool any trophy at all, that is simply opening a can of worms because we know the street parties for the people that were never fitted with brains would be all over the place, pissed up and hanging out of windows and whatnot.

Null and void means null and void, they'll have to try again next year.

Derek Knox
77 Posted 02/05/2020 at 16:02:05
Brian @67 & Eric @68, good point there raised with the testing, which in my mind raises many questions. They (The Government) are repeatedly making statements, followed by counter statements.

Basically, they have admitted that this virus is pretty much of an unknown, I can accept that. So how can they positively test for something they don't know exactly what properties the virus possesses, how it manifests, or spreads amongst some yet not others?

Hugh Jenkins
78 Posted 02/05/2020 at 16:21:00
Jim (75). It was likely they were going to win it – but not obvious.

They had been on a very long winning streak up until four games before the season stopped.

They lost all of those last four games and could have been on a very long losing streak – unlikely, I grant you, but not impossible.

The reality is, if the season ended in mid-March, at that point – despite being 25 points ahead of the field – they were still 6 points short of the winning margin they needed.

So, they have not won it and would not be able to win it if the season is declared null and void – why then should anyone give them a trophy?

If I were a red supporter, I too would feel gutted, but hey, sometimes, life is a bitch, just like when we were denied Europe in 1987, through no fault of our own.

Martin Mason
79 Posted 02/05/2020 at 16:33:44
I believe that they have two choices, either play every game behind closed doors, or void the season and start again with all teams in the position they started the 2019-20 season.

The last one is vastly more sensible because the first nullifies the home advantage of clubs that may need it and which could, in the worst case, stop Liverpool taking the title.

My belief is that there should be no games without fans, if it's safe enough to play then it's safe enough to watch and it won't be at any time this season. Unfair on Liverpool? Was it fair that the best team in Europe was banned from European competition in 1987?

Charlie Dixon
80 Posted 02/05/2020 at 17:15:47
Billy, I'm totally realistic that the world will still be a hugely different place in 6 weeks time. As I stated earlier, I can't see fans being in stadiums until 2022. That said, I don't think that should rule out football continuing in the meantime!
John Chambers
81 Posted 02/05/2020 at 17:16:27
Scrap the season now. The 20-21 season is scheduled to start on 8th August. At this rate, we will still be trying to work out how to end this season by then.
Paul Jones
82 Posted 02/05/2020 at 17:21:38
With the Covid-19 death rate being so high in the United Kingdom, I cannot see the resumption of the Premier League can be considered. Also, with a second wave being widely speculated, to me, it would be ill-judged and insensitive. If we had a worthy government, this decision should be theirs to make in the interests of public health.

At present, the country is not fit enough for organised football to return. I would prefer our "key workers" to be involved in protecting the essential common interests of all in society. Premier League clubs have health resources that would be better served if they were put to community use to help the most vulnerable.

Tony Waring
83 Posted 02/05/2020 at 17:50:08
Talking of money – which is what football is all about these days, at least as far as the Premier League is concerned I had a message from BT Sport announcing a 㾶 per month reduction in my subscription. I immediately dropped a line to Sky and they have also reduced my charges. In both cases, it is for a 2-month period. If anyone on here has not heard, I suggest you contact them tout de suite.

As far as the main point is concerned, I believe the whole season should be declared finished with no promotion or relegation and no award of titles. You won't please everyone but, in the current circumstances, it is the best option.

Paul Tran
84 Posted 02/05/2020 at 17:51:59
I've spent much of this afternoon enjoying old World Cup & FA Cup highlights. I would rather watch that every week than men in masks playing non-contact, socially-distanced football in an empty neutral stadium.

If football had any decency, it would void this season and the next one, in the hope that a vaccine is found so we can safely start the 2021-22 season with fans present.

If they carry on with this charade, we should boycott it. My business has to adapt and cope, why shouldn't football?

Tom Bowers
85 Posted 02/05/2020 at 18:09:56
It's a no-brainer!!! Covid-19 means everyone is under the cosh, so let's be patient and survive before getting antsy about starting up everything.

Yes, it's tough for many and we have to bite the bullet but most outdoor entertainment has to take a back seat until a viable vaccine is available to everyone.

It is nice, however, to see a lot of the old football games on TV which gives many an insight into how the game was played before all this boring tippy-tappy stuff played mostly in your own half.

Michael Lynch
86 Posted 02/05/2020 at 18:34:08
Paul & Tom,

I just finished watching the '87 FA Cup Final and I was amazed at how brilliant it was. So exciting and a real fairy tale for an unfashionable Coventry team.

Does make you think about the way football has changed since Sky took over. I know I'm an oul arse, but an FA Cup Final played on a Saturday at 3pm... heaven. I'm not sure what we've actually gained from the Premier League era apart from the right to watch shit football at 12:30pm on a Sunday.

And the pleasure of seeing Man City play in dozens of finals at Wembley that have clearly become almost meaningless to their players – most of whom feel no connection to either the competition or the badge they're playing in.

Brian Wilkinson
87 Posted 02/05/2020 at 18:41:16
They are looking at playing 2 games a week.

My thoughts on this is they are hoping within that first week, the title will be settled. After that, they can say it is not safe to carry on, can close the remainder of the season down, award the title and final placing as they are, with no relegation.

Brian Harrison
88 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:12:12
It's being reported that Everton, along with the Sky 6 and a couple of others, have voted to complete the season. There are 6 or 7 clubs against the idea, so I suspect the big boys didn't want a decision making at this meeting, as I would imagine if 1 or 2 clubs veto it, then it's dead in the water.

If this is true and Everton did vote to play behind closed doors, then shame on them. Obviously no thought given to the players. So, despite all the good work the club do in the community, the truth is they are just like the rest: money is their God.

Jim Wilson
89 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:35:26
Jim Bennings and Hugh Jenkins.

It is hard to argue with you, fair points made all round.

The one thing I am certain about is that there should not be a restart of any sort. It won't be fair but the main thing is it won't be safe.

The plain truth is the 2020-21 season starting in August, September onwards is also risky but it will be nothing but a dangerous disgrace if 2019-20 is restarted and Liverpool should know what it is like to suffer rough justice.
I wouldn't wish it on anyone but them.

Jay Wood

90 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:48:01
Charlie Dixon @ various.

Sorry, Charlie, but your justification to restart the contact sport of football 'cos it will give the country a bit of lift' is no basis to call for the same.

You seem to be viewing this from a strictly football perspective, as if its resumption will be welcome by all. It won't be.

Football, surprising as it may sound, is not universally loved by all. Even passionate lovers of football, desperate to see the game resumed, are queasy about its return any time soon.

And if football does resume, then other sports and leisure activities which entail mass gatherings will quite justifiably argue "Well, if it's good enough for football, it's good enough for us."

To that you can add any and every other (pre-Covid-19) 'normal' activity. But to focus on football only. We are already into May. We remain some way off agreeing a start-up date.

As I wrote on another thread earlier this week, there remain 92 games still to be played in the Premier League alone. Another 341 games in the Football League's other 3 divisions. In total, that is 433 games still to play.

In reply to that, another poster, Rob Halligan, guestimated that, for each game, even behind closed doors, as many as 500 people could be in attendance. Times those 500 people by 433 games, and it comes to over 216k people.

Multiply that number by 3-4 as (if things were truly democratic) all attendees (and not just the players) would need to be tested pre- and post-game. Throw into the mix that results may not be instant (they can take 2-7 days to be processed) or definitive... and yet the idea is to condense the season and play 2-3 games a week.

The UK government is already struggling to adequately test its own essential workers. The virus remains extremely virulent, but at least its spread is reduced with isolation.

But you and others are advocating a resumption of football at this time, regardless of the extra burden and deflection of limited resources of the emergency services (both human and material) that would entail...?

Where the hell is the justification, the logic or – to use a current buzz-word – the 'integrity' in that?

Danny Baily
91 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:50:16
There's no way of completing the season that is fair. Void the season and hope for the best with respect to starting the next one on time.
John Pierce
92 Posted 02/05/2020 at 19:55:15
I've taken to cooking, gardening and projects for the house. I'm simply uninterested in any form of sport until it's safe for both fans and players alike.

Everything else in this debate is purely a cover for greed and avarice. If I was a Premier League player, I'd tell them to shove it. There's no way it's safe to train, let alone play, and it's absolutely non-essential, just like the rest of sport and other entertainment sectors.

Ray Said
94 Posted 02/05/2020 at 20:21:53
With the possibility of legal challenges to any decision, it would seem prudent to look at any possible precedents. The league has been voided previously in September 1939 when the Football Association declared the football season null and void due to the start of the Second World War. Going with precedent is the best thing to do and leave it all until we can safely restart the next season.
Brian Williams
95 Posted 02/05/2020 at 20:24:59
You simply have to ask the question: "Which is more important, deciding the Premier League title winner or people's lives?"

For those of a red persuasion, I'd suggest to them they think long and hard before answering.

Eric Paul
96 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:16:25
So, in order to complete the season behind closed doors at a common neutral venue, 20 teams' squads plus backroom staff would have to go through a mini pre-season then be tested before being quarantined for two weeks then tested again before being locked down in a hotel that has had a deep clean.

All this repeated with hotel staff, match officials, coaches and coach drivers, broadcasters (ie electricians, fitters, maintenance, sound engineers, pundits and commentators) all kept in a bubble for 6 weeks. For one purpose!!!

Yeah right...

John Keating
97 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:21:22

I hope to God you're wrong about Everton voting to finish the season with the rest of the money-grabbers.

Jay Wood

98 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:24:07
Exactly, Eric @99.

The logistics required to facilitate the return of football is mind-boggling. Time, money and resource (human and material) consuming.

Does 'the end' justify all the needs?

Brian Wilkinson
99 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:30:07
Restarting the football will give the Country a lift, some are saying.

The Lions and the Christians was uplifting for some, although I would not recommend either to lift the mood.

Jay Wood

100 Posted 02/05/2020 at 21:34:42
Brain @ 102.

I thought something similar!

To distract and 'uplift' the nation, let's go back to Gladiators and the Colosseum.

'For those of us about to die, we salute you!'

Billy Roberts
101 Posted 02/05/2020 at 22:00:50
Eric @99,

Well said, the whole thing is friggin absurd. As I have said on other posts and threads, this circus doesn't even have the majority of football fans supporting it! Never mind the millions of people who just happen to be also affected by the virus.

Let's imagine ice hockey was the number 1 sport in this country? And all of us here on ToffeeWeb were still footy fans, making our sacrifices, the daily inconveniences up to the genuine risks many of our families in the NHS are making.

The elderly relatives left on their own now, how would we feel to hear of the ice hockey players training, testing, using ambulances for the inevitable injuries?

Then you get an idea of where this notion of "integrity" belongs – in the history bin.

Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 03/05/2020 at 06:32:32
But haven't you read that if they restart the fixtures, they are considering interviewing players mid-game, to give an extra bit of content, Billy?

I can't wait for the interviews, can't wait to hear what the players think, I wonder if they will just come right out and slag the ref, mid-game? Just get the game restarted because the suspense is killing me now!

Get-a-grip-football (said in my finest Brummie accent) or hopefully just some more fake bloody news!

Billy Roberts
103 Posted 03/05/2020 at 07:11:48
Tony @102,

Let's hope we can understand that commentary coming from underneath surgical masks!!

I've just read 2 interviews on BBC football website with Brighton's and Southampton's Chairmen, after about 4 paragraphs of total waffle, both interviews leave you clueless about what their intentions are, it's like as TW posters have mentioned they are all petrified of being the one to say, "Hang on a minute, this is just getting silly now."

If this is just a little taster for what goes on behind closed doors at their "Cobra" meetings, they will still be talking in 2021.

If someone had given us this scenario just over 2 months ago, you would have thought they had gone mad.

Eric Myles
104 Posted 03/05/2020 at 08:26:14
On a completely different, but I think relevant note.

I watched "The Graham Norton Show" last night, sad I know but one of my UK television pleasures out here in Thailand!.

So it was a Covid-19 lockdown show with all guests remote in their homes and it was awful. Normally it's fun with the guests and hosts feeding off each others lines, but one on one, it's no Parkinson.

That to me is what 'behind closed doors' footy will be like, watch the first game then find something else to do.

Re: footballers wearing masks while playing. Don't know what it's like in UK but here, wearing masks is compulsory, and you just can't breathe in them even walking slowly. Footballers won't be able to function in them without oxygen every five minutes (well, maybe not Schneiderlin).

Tony Shelby
105 Posted 03/05/2020 at 09:39:06
Apparently Brighton have said that they're not prepared to play at a neutral venue.

I get that as they're close enough to the drop zone to feel they need any slight benefit home matches would give them, even without supporters there.

Billy Roberts
106 Posted 03/05/2020 at 10:10:10
Tony @105,

While it was good to hear the Brighton Chief Executive come out and say he opposes neutral venues, he then goes on to say how it may be the best solution, blah, blah, etc. It's like he is scared to commit fully to his stance.

The Southampton Chief Executive is even worse, waffling on about "We don't intend to start playing now!! But when it is safe to do so" etc. Yes, Southampton Chief of obvious statements, we know you're not starting this next weekend.

He keeps pushing the final decision to the Government minister which in fairness will probably be how this farce will end.

Charlie Dixon
107 Posted 03/05/2020 at 10:11:41
Jay Wood - I've never said just football. I think we need to make contingency plans to resume all sport as and when the time is right. In 6-7 weeks we'll hopefully in a place to do that.

To say let's stop all sport until there's a crowd is ridiculous. Forget about the players for one moment and think of all the club employees who will be out of jobs.

I can confidently say that getting live sport back on TV will give ‘most' people a lift. I think we're all in agreement that the time needs to be right but to talk of wiping seasons clean is very naive.

Robert Tressell
108 Posted 03/05/2020 at 10:37:42
Still seems logical to me to finish the season (think more would agree if, say, City were running away with it) but question is how and when. Can't see us following the few more minor leagues thst have called it a day. Equally can't see football being played before contracts expire at the end of the month. Complete mess.
Brian Harrison
109 Posted 03/05/2020 at 10:48:29
Glad to hear Frank Lamphard come out and say he wasnt comfortable players and staff to be tested while many front line NHS and carers are not getting tested. Obviously somebody from Sky has said they may interview the players during the game, pity they won't talk about whether they will withdraw funds if season isn't completed. Despite hearing from many clubs that they will be in trouble if this goes on much longer, yet the biggest benefices the players show no desire to take pay cuts to help the clubs.

We heard 2 weeks ago the players had started a fund, but it's been remarkably quiet as to what they have collected and if any money has been paid out. Seems ironic that 1 man walking in his back yard can keep the country updated on a daily basis how much he has raised yet nothing about the footballers fund.

To be perfectly honest the way clubs and players have behaved since this pandemic, then if most of the clubs end up in financial difficulty I don't care – even if that affects Everton, who have also voted for behind-closed-doors games to go ahead. Maybe if they can't spend ridiculous amounts on transfers and players wages, then good. Football and realism parted company decades ago, this might inject some much-needed realism.

Gavin McGarvey
110 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:01:35
The main problem with bringing football back while this crisis is ongoing is that football has become far more theatre than sporting event, particularly over the last 10 years. Will there be the demand for it?

People will tune in, but will they tune out for what may be fairly soulless fare? I'm not downplaying the health issues as they will be significant, but there's a lot of money in football now, and that depends on marketing and quality of product. With all the drama gone, will that damage the game's appeal?

I personally think that, until they can play in front of packed stadiums again, there's not much point. Who knows though, maybe they'll CGI the fans in and decide they can do without us on an ongoing basis.

Paul Tran
111 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:01:38
I will get a lift when racing, a virtually non-contact sport that can survive without large crowds, is back on the telly.

Will I get a lift at the sight of artificial non-contact football played by men in masks in empty stadiums? No.

'Project Restart' has nothing to do with 'lifting' the nation. The government wants to distract us from what's really going on. The Premier League wants to keep its snout in the trough of money, regardless of the quality of 'product'. The journalists want to keep their jobs, too – maybe they're afraid that if there's no footy, their papers will have them write up stories about benefit scroungers, EU citizens or immigrants.

Lots of people are going to lose income, jobs, businesses. We're all going to have to cut our cloth and do things differently. If football had any brains, it would lead the way. It hasn't and it won't. It's going to get dragged to reality.

Tony Shelby
112 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:02:03
It's May already.

Void the 2019-20 season and start afresh when it's safe to do so.

Obviously I'm not biased in any way, shape or form...

Len Hawkins
113 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:07:54
I'm fed up with hearing about the Premier League, it should have been cancelled as soon as all of this started.

I think the fact that the country has been turned on its head by Covid-19 makes the season irrelevant. Just void it and prepare for next season hopefully starting on time. All this "will it, won't it" argument is completely disrespectful to all the people who have succumbed to this terrible virus.

Eugene Markey
114 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:53:14
Tony Everan
115 Posted 03/05/2020 at 11:58:10
I can't blame Brighton for blocking it, they have 5 home games left and that advantage would likely keep them up and that means 𧴜-200M. Why should they be the fall guys? If Everton were in that position, we would be up in arms.

I cannot see how this season resumes without teams playing on their own grounds. The scandal that people coming in and out of care homes are still not fully tested means that testing elsewhere must take a distant second until that crisis is completely overcome.

If anyone dies because of diversion of PPE, testing or medical staff resources to football, it is criminal.

Eugene Markey
116 Posted 03/05/2020 at 12:08:21
Paul Tran @84,

I have to agree with you on not just voiding this season but cancelling next season as well. Who would watch a game on telly without any supporters to give a crap game some lift unless it was their own club? I certainly will not be lining Sky's pockets if this is the way forward.

I have to agree with all the comments on how watching all the old games bring back happier memories to us all. Until some treatment is discovered, we have to think about our own health and those brilliant front-line staff. Football is a very poor second at the moment. Stay safe everybody

Jay Wood

117 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:02:21
Charlie @ 107.

'I've never said just football.'

You may think that Charlie, but you have not expressed that in any of your posts in this thread.

Thus my observation that you seem to be viewing this from a strictly football perspective.

Judging by your latest post I take it you are still 'surprised' as you originally stated at the reluctance by many - not only on TW and not only Evertonians - to restart ANY professional sport, or in football's case to contrive to play the current season to its conclusion.

You say 'to stop all sport until there's a crowd is ridiculous...'

And 'to talk of wiping seasons clean is very naive.'

But then you throw in lines like 'forget about the players for one moment'.

Ehrm...why? Are they like NHS staff without adequate PPE and somehow 'expendable?'

And 'think of all the club employees who will be out of jobs.'

You continue to see things from a football-only perspective. By some calculations around 700,000 people in the UK have already lost their jobs. Many tens of thousands of small businesses are going to the wall.

Football is just one more industry being impacted on as a result of Covid-19. It is not a special case as you seemingly continue to present it to be that should start up again as per your sole justification, 'to give the nation a lift.'

You have been offered many legitimate reasons on the consequences of restarting football at this time, not least how it will deflect both human and material resources (which are both overtaxed and in short supply) away from the emergency services and where they are needed most.

In addition to that there is the contractual situation of many players that expire before or during any likely resumption.

And now you have the vacuous intentions of completing the leagues at neutral grounds and all the disruptive logistics that entails.

And you have the gall to call others naive Charlie?

To repeat the wise words of another poster of a few days ago:

'Football will be safe to play when it will be safe to watch.'

And I don't mean live TV transmissions from empty stadiums.

Gary Willock
118 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:04:56
I think the answer is to merge this season into next. Either just carry the points over or use some kind of mathematical model to give ‘head starts' to the clubs who've done well this year – may be compensating a little if you had more home games left. Award whatever prize money there is as you would have if it ended as it was anyway.

38 games is plenty of time claw back any minor “injustice” anyone may feel with the plan. Giving the shite the head start they have would give them a good chance to still win it so, no excuse for bitching. Leeds would still have an advantage on promotion, etc. Would be hilarious though for us if the shite ‘slipped' with a head start.

If the ‘merged season' can start as normal then great. If it has to be delayed for a little while so what.

Martin Nicholls
119 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:08:19
Serious note 1- my intention was to forfeit any season ticket refund that the Club might offer. Should it become clear that they supported this nonsense, I won't be doing so.

Serious note 2 - all the media are wringing their hands about the injustice of the shite not being crowned champions. They overlook Coventry who are about to be hit by the second part of a double whammy should their almost certain promotion be voided. As noted by a previous poster, they won the FA Cup in 1987 – thus qualifying for Europe for the only time in their history but were denied their chance due to the actions of our neighbours. They surely deserve more sympathy than the Anfield shysters?

On a note of levity, had the football authorities decided that the game is a non-contact sport as is repeatedly suggested by the all-knowing Alan ("there was contact, so it's a foul/penalty") Shearer and his fellow pundits, social distancing is one thing they wouldn't have to worry about in this proposed charade!

Ken Kneale
120 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:12:39
Brian - I do hope you are not correct about Everton voting. As many astute observers here have noted, football at the moment is secondary to people's lives (literally sadly) and the "behind closed doors" charade is for the benefit of a few rather than the country as a whole. I very much hope whomever votes for Everton can be persuaded to change their minds.
Martin Nicholls
121 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:24:03
Charlie #107 – if football (and other sport) returns in the circumstances you support, there'll be crowds alright. Of people in parks and other green spaces following suit on the "Well, if they can do it, so can I".

And that is to say nothing of the thousands of idiots who will gather around Anfield with their scarves, banners, flares etc. As I said earlier in the thread, that will nullify the gains made so far as a result of the lockdown. Are you saying that is acceptable, or that crowds will not gather as I've suggested?

Andy Crooks
122 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:29:51
Well said, Len Hawkins.
Andrew Haizelden
123 Posted 03/05/2020 at 13:33:20
No restart. Alongside an asterisk they could put NHS.
Charlie Dixon
124 Posted 03/05/2020 at 14:57:02
Jay, as I said, we need to take medical and government advice. I've not once said that we should start until it's right and proper to do so. Having a contingency plan in place if deemed doable and safe is sensible, be it with or without crowds.

Many clubs across the Football League will be in huge danger if it doesn't and clubs nowadays are far more than just football teams. The community and foundations at clubs offer a huge amount to their local communities. Vast amounts of people will be out of work and as a result if it's possible to continue then I hope it does for their sake.

Obviously many businesses (inc mine) have taken a hammering over the past 2 months and many people have sadly lost their jobs, however, I still stand by the fact that football and sport in general coming back would give some people a real lift.

Martin – fair points. I guess all of that has again to be managed and advised by the government and police. I suspect the majority would adhere to it. You'll always get a few dickheads.

Will be interesting to see the lay of the land in 4 weeks time where I would expect a lot of people's opinion might change.

Jay Wood

125 Posted 03/05/2020 at 15:59:24
And still Charlie, you don't address any of the extremely challenging logistics that others have pointed out to you, namely:

* The diminishing time available with every lost day to complete the outstanding 92 Premier League games and the 344 EFL games across the other 3 divisions

* The unnecessary deflection of human and material resources from where it's most needed to each and every football match

* The increased risk to local residents at stadiums wherever games are played

* The increased risk to most club's most financially valuable asset – their players – as well as other attending staff members

* The increased exposure and transmission risk of transporting and housing large club entourages around the country

* The thorny issue of players' expiring contracts which coincide with your own optimistic resumption date – mid to end of June

Personally, I would love to experience a full-blown live TV broadcast of an Everton Premier League game in an empty stadium for one reason and one reason only:

To hear the shouts of the players yelling to teammates, the opposition and officials.

That I fancy would be a source of great mirth. But I also fancy, given how quick broadcasters are in apologizing for crowd expletives picked up by their effect mics at live matches, even that pleasure would be denied us and that broadcasters would find a way to muffle and sanitize such exchanges.

To conclude, the 'not knowing' when football can realistically be resumed AND maintain its integrity, is something you and others (unfortunately some in positions of real influence) seem unwilling or incapable of addressing.

So I'm sorry, Charles, but you continuing to lobby for a resumption of football in any form or any time soon as a means to 'give the country an uplift'; you blithely saying the conclusion of this season can mesh with next season, is to ignore the present and the knock-on effect for next year's already compromised football calendar.

In short, your stance appears superficial and facetious to me.

Jay Harris
126 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:10:51
If they are suggesting CGI crowds, why not go the whole hog and have CGI footballers and match officials. That way Sky and BT would have total control to ensure the media darlings get the results. That way, the players could have their lockdown parties while still drawing their 𧴜k a week.

On a serious note, the statistics demonstrate that it is spread mainly in concentrated areas like big cities, cruise ships and big events so there is no justification whatsoever in resuming football or any other sport (especially contact sport) played in a concentrated area, ie, a stadium.

Yes, it is a financial hardship but it's much harder to let your loved ones fall to this pandemic and not even to be able to give them a proper burial and sendoff.

And they talk about resuming football. It's disgraceful.

Tony Everan
127 Posted 03/05/2020 at 16:16:56
Even merging this season into next is fraught with problems as players will be out of contract, new players will have been bought. Each club could be stronger or weaker. There is no easy way out of it, and as things stand no safe way out of it. If it wasn't for the £800m at stake it would have been abandoned and voided by now.

The next thing up will be quarantined squads playing in the Saudi Arabian desert, at midnight, everyday for the month of July.

Charlie Dixon
128 Posted 03/05/2020 at 17:08:34

As I've said when its safe and proper to do so. That's not now, that might not be for another year but to have a plan in place for when it opens up seems sensible to me.

Jay Wood

129 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:20:11
That's a considerable shift of position on your part, Charlie.

If it's not 'safe and proper' in another year, as you now say, will you still be advocating to complete the current season then?

I'm also intrigued to know how, in this great unknown, you can sensibly 'have a plan in place' as you suggest for what to do with so many moving parts to the question.

An alternative cleaner and more decisive 'plan' is to accept:

* It remains increasingly impractical to conclude this season
* That acceptance of the above helps clarify things for all (clubs, players, managers, other staff, supporters, the emergency services, transport services, hoteliers, other businesses, etc, etc) to declare the current season 'over'
* What form such a declaration of voiding the season takes remains anybody's guess but, whatever it is, it should not be determined on the rule of 'one', but take into consideration all other 91 top four flight clubs
* That such a decision changes the focus to solely being on starting completely anew for the 2020-21 season, conditions allowing

Sorry, Charlie, but again, all you've expressed is a wishful hope on your part with no clarification or justification on the how or the why beyond the shallow 'it'll give the country a lift' line which in itself is open to challenge.

Michael Lynch
130 Posted 03/05/2020 at 18:37:02
With regards to Brighton, it does seem that they're lobbying for a "no relegation this season" clause if they do agree to playing at neutral grounds.

The "integrity" argument seems to fall apart if that's the case.

If there is no relegation, and it also seems unlikely that there will be full European competitions next season because of travel issues, particularly during the qualifying phase which is due to start in July, then where is the integrity? Sure, the Shite get to win the league, but nothing else matters, so once that is done (possibly after the first game back), what is the point in playing on? Nobody will watch it on telly, nobody will care – it's just a load of friendlies played behind closed doors in neutral stadiums.

I understand the argument about saving the clubs from bankruptcy, but if the above is what happens, then Sky are being ripped off. They might as well just hand over the money to the clubs as an act of kindness, everyone goes on furlough, and we can all meet again in three months to try to start the 20-21 season.

Ken Kneale
131 Posted 03/05/2020 at 19:05:50
I am with Len's post at 113 – the only viable solution economically and morally.
Charlie Dixon
132 Posted 03/05/2020 at 19:22:17
I'm far too hungover to be arsed to reply to you, Jay. You're the last thing I need today.

I just want some sport back on and that's basically it.

Billy Roberts
133 Posted 03/05/2020 at 21:16:26
Michael @130,

It is being suggested on another BBC story a relegation free end, this explains the Brighton chief executives guarded, hazy stance.

If they agree to an end-of-season circus without the threat / drama of relegation, what the fuck is the point? That would render about 50% and most probably more of the matches even more pointless.

This whole thing seems to be disappearing up its own arse of impossible logistics and ill-considered risks. Every day, it gets more comical.

John Keating
134 Posted 03/05/2020 at 21:37:37

I read that and you are right: it is comical. They keep on talking about the integrity of the season.

First, it's to be played behind closed doors with no fans – that's integrity out the window. Second, games to be played at 10 grounds only – that's integrity out the window!

Now they'll only agree if there's no relegation!!

You really couldn't make this up. It really is getting embarrassing.

Billy Roberts
135 Posted 03/05/2020 at 21:58:25
The next bit, John.

The identity of the grounds will be kept secret and through the magic of CGI all identifiable landmarks, colours et cetera will be neutralised to stop thousands of Evertonians moving down to Luton, thousands of Geordies decamping outside Old Trafford and so on!

The bus driver will have to sign the Official Secrets Act and will live under 24-hour armed guard.

Rob Halligan
136 Posted 03/05/2020 at 22:01:10
By having no relegation takes away the competitiveness of any game. Why would the likes of Norwich, Villa and Watford bust a gut in their remaining games when they know they are safe from relegation? They wouldn't be bothered if they win lose or draw. I know there is extra prize money for league placings, but the only person arsed about that would be the chairmen of all the clubs.

It's got to be cancelled with all league positions standing as they are, or the season is null and void. Let Villa play their game in hand, and if they win they stay up, and if they draw or lose they are relegated.

Billy Roberts
137 Posted 03/05/2020 at 22:05:59
Rob @136,

I think you may have opened up another can of worms with that last suggestion!!

Danny Baily
138 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:29:40
One question I have is this: why are the authorities only talking about neutral stadiums (and trying to identify stadiums in less built up areas) and not considering using club training facilities?
Brian Wilkinson
139 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:45:32
Do not worry, chaps, before they null and void the season, they will probably come up with Fifa 2020 to decide games.

Instead of teams turning up, a nominated player from your team will do battle, in his living room, against an opponent, live on Sky with commentary provided, with a half-time break of "When the fun stops, stop" adverts.

Nothing... but nothing would surprise me anymore of them trying to finish the season.

Brian Wilkinson
140 Posted 03/05/2020 at 23:52:38
I am more worried about it still being in the hundreds of deaths each day, yet there's talk of easing lockdown and pushing big for the tracking app to be added by everyone.

Why such a big push for the app, the UK population is just over 56 Million with only just over a million being tested, that leaves 99% of the Country untested, yet instead of pushing to have everyone tested, they are hell bent on everyone having the app.

Mike Hanlon
141 Posted 03/05/2020 at 00:03:43
The scenarios and preparations to continue with this season, and talk of integrity, get more far fetched and worse by the day.

In my opinion, it feels so out of kilter with what is happening around us. The message that was sent to all Evertonians by our CEO, Denise Barrett-Baxendale on 19 March 2020 was:

“I am sure you will agree when I say football should return only when it is safe and practical to do so.” 

Is this still Everton's stance? If so, why are we considering options that seem completely impractical and could pose health risks? Even FIFA's top medical expert thinks the season should be abandoned.

All the Evertonians I know, myself included, don't want the season to continue in the ways that are being proposed, for a variety of reasons.

The Brighton Chief Exec has spoken. I'd love to know the official stance from our Club now and whether it is in tune with us, the fanbase. How do we get our message across?

Martin Mason
142 Posted 04/05/2020 at 00:12:26
How about this. Play all outstanding games from this season at the start of a new season starting at its normal date, then play a reduced length season to decide positions at the end of the 20-21 season. If preferred, play two games a week and fit over one season in.

Whatever, no more games this season unless it is safe for both fans and players.

Eric Myles
143 Posted 04/05/2020 at 01:40:25
Brian #139, you're obviously more electronic game savvy than me. I suggested Subutteo!
Lloyd Brodrick
144 Posted 04/05/2020 at 03:13:21
Reading through the thread there are quite a lot of questions being asked about the Virus. There is also quite a bit of confusion or misinformation. I can answer many of the questions if it helps.

My take, for what its worth, is that the season cannot resume without creating additional and unnecessary risk of increasing transmission.

If you take Kean's party for instance, if there were ten there and one was asymptomatic, then all could have been infected and within 5 weeks you have 8,000 cases. All those involved in starting Football off again, even behind closed doors, would present an unacceptable risk.

Brian @67, Eric @68 and Derek @77
We don't need asymptomatic people to develop a vaccine. We can do that from the Genome sequence we received from China early January as well as the many samples of the virus we have from the infected. Many universities started work immediately on a vaccine in January. Oxford as we know are already on human trials as well as producing 1 million doses in parallel to the testing to save time, should it work. They appear very confident.

Asymptomatic people are not immune, they are infected but either not showing symptoms or not showing symptoms yet. Studies have shown that 75% of those tested as positive but without symptoms go on to develop symptoms. Additionally, an asymptomatic person goes through the infection in broadly the same timeline as symptomatic people and recovers, at which point they no longer spread.

Dalgleish will have been sent home and asked to self isolate.

Re the testing, it was an unknown virus, a Novel Virus, but once identified and its genome sequence extracted tests could be developed on which we could rely.

Corona Virus does not spread amongst some yet not others. It's a novel virus, humans have no initial immunity. It spreads amongst all but with differing impact.

Brian @140 - The UK population is about 65 million so testing everyone, whilst desirable, would be too big an undertaking at the moment. However the App would help identify those we need to test now and isolate. Its a start and we may be better waiting for the antibody test before we commence such a programme, testing for both at the same time.

Charlie @30 - You went to Cheltenham. A global pandemic was declared a week before, Italy had 1,000 dead, France were closing schools and the US had cancelled all sport. Football can wait, just as Cheltenham should have.

I was thinking about the league restarting with players observing a strict 2 m distancing, our lot would still misplace 30% of our passes.

Brian Wilkinson
145 Posted 04/05/2020 at 23:19:09
Sorry Lloyd, I do not follow you. I know they cannot test everyone; what I am saying is, those illion tested, we already know about, how can this app warn you about the other 99% that have not been tested?

Going forward, then yes, this could be a life-saver, I just think getting more tested first is more important than pushing out an app.

Put it this way: it is like running out of petrol and them showing you how to push your car a mile to a garage, instead of having the solution beforehand with ready-made action you can take. Or, to put it another way, having a Panini football album, but there is only 1% of the stickers available to put in your album.

You have to stock first so that it can be filled with the appropriate measures, so testing at the very least 50% to at least get data that will warn you, but only 1% could do more harm than good.

You could be close to someone who has it, they do not know, the app does not know, because they have not been tested, so you are getting a false sense of security.

The app needs to be rolled out further down the line and focus, first and foremost, on more people being tested.

Lloyd Brodrick
146 Posted 04/05/2020 at 23:54:04
Hi Brian, I know what you are saying but full-scale testing is not possible currently, they do not have the lab capacity as yet and need a simple test. You would also need to keep testing the negatives over and over again.

However, there are two ways the app helps. Firstly you don't need a test, you could simply report your symptoms if you become ill, then you have a test, and then the app informs those you were close to, asking them to isolate or come in for a test.

Secondly, should you become ill and hospitalised, you will be tested and the app again used to suggest people who came into contact with you to self-isolate for 7 days. It's very helpful.

Derek Thomas
147 Posted 05/05/2020 at 01:09:44
Mike Hanlon @ 141; Just what is this fan base message you want to send, your message, our message, TW's message... whatever that is on any given day.

My message is... and London Theatres – with similar shoulder-to-shoulder seating arrangements, have decided not to even attempt to open until March 2021.

Until it's safe to sit fans shoulder-to-shoulder, it's not safe to play. I may be in a minority here though.

But money will call the shots on this, it always does

Michael Kenrick
148 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:40:47
Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown:

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

This is from the American experience but a lot of it seems to resonate with what's happened here in the UK. However, large parts of the US have had enough and are starting to open up. I guess we'll find out in the next week or two which hypothetical projection is right!

Full article from The Hill:

The data is in — stop the panic and end the total isolation

Michael Kenrick
149 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:46:50
Some more interesting headlines that are getting no airtime on our panic-striken pandemic programmes:

'Crystal ball gazing' over Covid-19 has left Nightingale hospitals empty

Doctors and Oxford University researchers believe ministers have become overly reliant on worst-case-scenarios from Imperial College. Nightingale hospitals are largely empty after Government modelling miscalculated how many people would need intensive care treatment for Covid-19,

Michael Kenrick
150 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:53:56
Following that one a little deeper is simply un-fucking-believable:

London NHS Nightingale hospital will shut next week

"No 10 says the decision is due to limited demand, with no coronavirus admissions expected in coming days." — WTF???

But this is the most astounding bit:

The four other Nightingales that were opened to stop hospitals being overwhelmed – in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate – will also be wound down.

All were conceived in March, when ministers and health service bosses were concerned that NHS hospitals risked being overwhelmed by significant numbers of people needing to be ventilated to keep them alive.

But while the Manchester hospital has taken some patients, its sister facilities in Birmingham, Bristol and Harrogate have not admitted anyone.

Derek Thomas
151 Posted 05/05/2020 at 09:56:10
Hope for the best - prepare for the worst. I don't see the problem.

Leave it until the 2nd peak has past, mark it all up, take it to bits and wrap it in clingfilm. Or use it as a template to make a few copies for use – heaven forbid – in other disasters.

Then wrap it in cling film.

Brian Harrison
152 Posted 05/05/2020 at 10:23:24

No need to wonder which approach has worked: New Zealand closed all its borders before we did and went into complete lockdown, more strict than here. They have had 20 deaths and no new cases in the last 2 days, their Prime Minister has said the borders will stay closed for quite a long time, but they are beginning to ease the lockdown.

I suggest you log on to the BBC news website this morning were it shows a picture of a flight from Belfast to Heathrow on Monday plane was rammed no social distancing and probably no testing at Heathrow. So 2 different approaches and 2 starkly different outcomes.

Michael Kenrick
153 Posted 05/05/2020 at 11:08:03
Brian, it's all too easy to cherry-pick examples from other countries with entirely different outcomes and ascribe causations to explain the disparate correlations. As I've said before, we evolved a pattern-seeking brain as a key element in our survival as a species. And we need to identify those patterns in order to understand the world around us.

Unfortunately, this disease, this pandemic, this coronavirus is defying so much logic and challenging so many preconceptions and different rules developed by different governments on the fly to manage the crisis.

There are key things that can be done which are protective of the vulnerable. Air travel and public transport are clearly going to be a massive challenge if everyone is to maintain social distancing. The question has to be asked: is full lockdown necessary if those who are really at risk can take special and potentially life-saving precautions for them, while letting the rest of us get back to something approaching normality?

A balance needs to be struck. At the moment, the swingometer is way over on the panic side, while huge gaps – air travel especially – continue to blatantly flout all the so-called rules. It's madness, particularly because air travel is probably how the virus got here and, with no restraint on the movement of incoming passengers, how it spread all over the country.

Chris Williams
154 Posted 05/05/2020 at 11:50:55
Interesting session today where Sir Patrick Vallance is reporting to Parliamentary Committee, and also Government has released some SAGE documents and minutes, some heavily redacted.

He reckons that air travel will only account for 0.5% of infections, but it could change if cases keep reducing. Also, face masks on public transport, for example, could have some marginal benefits.

He also reckons they could have done some things better, like ramping up testing quicker and maybe locking down a few days earlier may have made a difference.

Probably need to bear in mind that he was the herd immunity guy, before everyone's life changed.

SAGE are advising against any premature release of lockdown

ONS figures for England and Wales, once added to by Scotland and NI means that for week ending 24 April, UK Covid-19 deaths increase to 32,000, with a 2,500 week on week increase in Care homes, up to nearly 5,900 accumulatively. So still increasing there.

A 10-day time-lag, remember.

Overall deaths reduced marginally which is better news, as did excess deaths, but their total in the last two weeks account for over 22,000 excess deaths, the two highest weeks since records began. Possibly a better measure for Covid-19 impact, Sir Patrick reckons.

Michael Kenrick
155 Posted 05/05/2020 at 12:29:27
Thanks for that update, Chris.

I tried following up at the SAGE portion of the UK.gov website but just went around in circles trying to get more from this latest posting:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): scientific evidence supporting the UK government response

Is there another source you are getting this from? I notice you never post links. It's really easy:

1) Hit the URL button; that puts some special script into your comment
2) Copy and Paste the full webpage address from the top line of your browser into the pair of quotes after href="", so it reads (for example) href="https://www.gov.uk/"
3) Copy and Paste the title of the page or article in place of the Link

Easy peasy! Thanks!!!

Brian Harrison
156 Posted 05/05/2020 at 12:52:34

I wasn't cherry-picking, I was stating facts, but let's leave New Zealand out of this particular scenario. So let's pick China, where the virus started in Wuhan; they completely locked down the whole of Wuhan and contained most of the contagion there.

Take South Korea, who had handled the Sars epidemic badly, but obviously had learned the lesson, so as soon as they heard in December, they started a massive testing and tracing procedure, which again kept and is still keeping the people of South Korea safe. Germany, another country who some years back took all the warnings about a pandemic seriously, so had plenty of testing kits and PPE equipment so squashed the amount of people dying from the virus. Singapore, Taiwan all managing the virus with very few deaths.

Also, these countries I have mentioned haven't had massive fatalities in care homes. So I think these examples show it's nothing to do with cherry-picking – it's following what the successful countries have done. Thankfully, this government have finally woken up to mass testing and tracing; problem is they have through their massive incompetence let this virus escalate to such a proportion that, until the death rates reduce significantly, it will be difficult to make all the track and trace that they need. South Korea have had a phone app working for a few months, telling people if they were in a high risk area or were heading towards one. Again, it's taken this government months to follow this lead.

Sir Patrick Vallance at one of his first press briefings was asked about what effect mass gatherings like Cheltenham would have, to which he said he thought the contagion would be minimal. Yet, a couple of weeks later, all mass gatherings are banned and he is telling everybody to keep 2 m apart to stop the virus spreading. Now either his statement about Cheltenham was wrong or his social distancing is wrong. Two weeks ago, he was asked about how effective face masks would be, he said he didn't think it would have much effect... What's the betting that message changes in the next week or so when they start to lift lockdown?

Conor McCourt
157 Posted 05/05/2020 at 13:12:20
This is an independent report with no political interest which has just been published which studied the effects of Lockdown in Europe.

Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic

Chris Williams
158 Posted 05/05/2020 at 13:21:21
Hi Michael,

I use an iPad and I don't know how to attach documents, using this, unfortunately. With a laptop no problem.

I get some stuff from Imperial, some from C-19 research, this I got from ONS report, as well as from the BBC news and from the Guardian. They are good at posting links! They also do good forensic reporting and exclusives.

One today says that in the 3 months leading to lockdown, of the 18million people entering the UK, less than 300 were quarantined, and that included the people who ended up in Arrowe Park!

So that's ok!

As regards the lockdown, that was initially driven pretty much by the Imperial modelling which showed that 250,000 were likely to die unless the approach changed. But 20,000 would be the death toll if lockdown were to occur. It was done over several days here. It only went full after the initial suggestions of distancing were disregarded. That also came from a poll by gov.uk, this was managed by Imperial and showed that over half the population were not distancing, isolating or pretty much taking it seriously.

The initial strategy of herd immunity, testing etc was also driven by Imperial models, but were based on an old model and a flu type virus. Then Italy happened!

This all happened in the space of a few days. So I guess panic stations, and we've not really been in control since. Testing PPE, Care Homes etc and a sense of reacting to the next crisis.

It also drove Nightingale hospitals.

So 2 models, giving conflicting scenarios were wrong, as models always are. There are also criticisms of the makeup of SAGE with too many modellers, academics, not enough NHS practitioners, logistics experts etc.

But the models were wrong, one using totally the wrong basis, the other overly pessimistic for some at least. Except that the forecast of 20,000 is already proving way too low, with 32000 dead, 10 days ago!

The models are not static and are being constantly updated and refined, so will be a better guide now. But that's all.

These are my personal views and thoughts, so are not necessarily correct.

But this is not a failure of modelling, but you do have to question the management.

I won't be going near Goodison any time soon for sure, which gives you some idea of where I stand on social distancing.

John Keating
159 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:11:05

I understand what you're getting at but, regarding the Far East countries you've mentioned, I'd be a bit skeptical. I've worked in all the countries you've mentioned and their authoritarian regimes will be economical with the truth.

More important, their populace are more inclined to follow exactly what they're told. We wouldn't put up with half the things they do.

Michael Kenrick
160 Posted 05/05/2020 at 15:11:26
Sorry to be an ass, Brian, but that is the very essence of cherry-picking. Pick out just the countries that did miles better than the UK, and then beat up the UK government.

So, in that context, it's a pretty provocative title to read from that paper Conor just posted a link to!!! Thanks for that. Here is the Abstract:

This phenomenological study assesses the impacts of full lockdown strategies applied in Italy, France, Spain and United Kingdom, on the slowdown of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, and reproduction number trends. Extrapolating pre-lockdown growth rate trends, we provide estimates of the death toll in the absence of any lockdown policies, and show that these strategies might not have saved any life in western Europe. We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures (as opposed to police-enforced home containment) experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic.

Of course, they are probably guilty of cherry-picking too, by picking only large cosmopolitan nations of Western Europe with large death numbers to do their comparison.

But hey-ho, UK.gov is "following the science". Gawd, if I hear that one more time...

Conor McCourt
161 Posted 05/05/2020 at 19:28:31
Michael, Yes, it was a very interesting finding. Not sure the UK Government is following the science? How can that be if the Swedes are following the science without any political influence?

They take an evidence-based approach and argue the only conclusive science available is that washing your hands is proven, social distancing has some validation, and most other measures have no scientific basis. Models are different from reality.

Eric Myles
163 Posted 09/05/2020 at 09:08:45
Britain's Covid-19 lockdown was futile, says Swedish epidemiologist

It's good to see that some scientist have the balls to question the conventional 'wisdom?'

Paul Tran
164 Posted 09/05/2020 at 09:20:43
Interesting piece in The Times today (presumably the Scottish version) comparing the Stockholm District with the Scottish Central Belt. Fairly similar populations and number of deaths. Stockholm has larger landmass, Central Belt more densely populated.

Deaths per 100k: Central Belt 51, Stockholm 60.

Make of that what you will.

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