Talking Points

Football still under the cosh from coronavirus

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on football, with competitions across the world currently on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

Administrators in England have cancelled fixtures until at least the end of April and many pundits are predicting they will be forced to suspend play beyond that.

In what is undoubtedly an unprecedented time for the sport, we look at some of the biggest current talking points in football during the crisis.

Premier League intent on completing season

While many other organisations believe that it will be impossible to stage sport over the coming months, the Premier League says that it fully intends to complete the 2019/20 season.

One idea currently under consideration is for the clubs to play all the remaining games in one neutral location behind closed doors.

Only essential personnel and broadcasters would be allowed to attend in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus.

If the Premier League could manage to pull this off, bookmakers across the land would undoubtedly be offering UK free bets to punters to encourage them to wager on the action.

Clubs join forces against the FA

More than 100 clubs have joined forces to express their dissatisfaction with the Football Association’s decision to expunge all results at non-league and grassroots level this season.

Clubs across the pyramid have signed a letter which accuses the FA of acting too hastily and without proper consultation with those affected by the ruling.

Peterborough United owner Darragh MacAnthony added his name to the list of signatories and more people from within the EFL are expected to join him.

The National League and National League North and South were not included in the FA’s decision, casting further doubt on the reasoning behind the verdict.

Grealish puts United move in big doubt

If you can guarantee one thing during any crisis it is that at least one professional footballer will do something he will later live to regret.

Jack Grealish’s decision to ignore self-distancing guidelines over the weekend attracted plenty of criticism within football, although it could have wider-reaching implications for Grealish himself.

The Aston Villa playmaker has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but his antics could lead to them turning their attentions elsewhere.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been eager to sign players with the right sort of character for United and may now decide that Grealish doesn’t fit the bill in that respect.

Newcastle get their priorities wrong

Newcastle United’s decision to place their non-playing staff on temporary leave due to the pandemic was the latest in a series of questionable moves by the club.

Behind the scenes employees have been told to apply for the government’s job retention scheme in order to help keep the club afloat.

While other clubs have asked their highly paid players to defer their salaries to support other staff, Newcastle have taken a different stance.

The decision is yet another major gaffe under the ownership of Mike Ashley who seems incapable of doing the right thing whatever the circumstances.

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