The Premier League Chose Festive Fixtures Over Safe Fixtures

So things are a bit chaotic in the Premier League:

On Monday, Tottenham were knocked out of the European Conference League by UEFA itself, which gave Rennes a 3-0 victory for French club Rennes in the last game of the group stage. The match was supposed to take place on December 9, but the outbreak of the Corona virus between Tottenham players and coaching staff forced the Spurs to be postponed – the team’s third postponement in just over a week. Tottenham’s rival in the Premier League scheduled for last Thursday, Leicester, succeeded in requesting the cancellation of his team after a mixture of the virus and other injuries to nine members of the team. Spurs reportedly wanted to press Rennes’ match in case Leicester were postponed, but could not, as the Premier League did not announce the postponement until the morning of the match – after Spurs had already traveled two hours north to the East Midlands.

On Saturday, just hours before the scheduled start of the match against Aston Villa, Burnley’s second match in a week was canceled, as a result of the escalation of infections with the Corona virus in the Villa camp. Chelsea dropped six points from the league leaders, Manchester City, after a goalless draw with Wolverhampton in one of only. four The English Premier League matches already taking place this weekend. In total, an astonishing 10 Premier League matches have been canceled due to COVID in less than two weeks. However, on Sunday, Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel sent a team without seven of his first-team players, as the league’s board of directors rejected the Blues’ request for a postponement. Tuchel went on to say that the result was more than a crumbling team card: How, given everything, could Chelsea be expected to settle in the game? How can any team? “People are worried because they sat on the bus and ate the same dinner,” he explained. “Obviously… we had to play, but you can’t claim to be 100 per cent focused. It was all but calm.”

The Premier League is in the middle of another COVID crisis that it doesn’t seem to fully grasp. Even with last-minute cancellations rife and new cases emerging “from the roof,” as Brentford chief Thomas Frank said last week, the slate of matches continues on a painfully ad-hoc basis. Representatives of the 20 league clubs met on Monday to discuss how to tackle the growing problem, and the decision was to throw the can on the road. With a clear surplus of matches that need to be rescheduled and the tight schedule known as the festive period, in fact, if you have 14 active players and managers to line up, you can either keep it going or face disciplinary action.

Otherwise, how will the Prime Minister respond realistically? Let me be the latest person to lament that FoOtBalL is BuSiNeSs team first and foremost, which means the duty to care for players, staff and fans comfortably ranks second in league revenue. In November, the Premier League agreed to renew a multi-year, multi-billion dollar television deal with NBC, reasserting its position as the most profitable league in football. Assembling several toys in the days between Christmas and New Years is a profitable tradition; It’s a time of year when families gather around the TV and are free of commitments, so they have plenty of time to absorb the product of the Premier League. It’s also a time when most other European leagues have gone on their winter break, and for a week or so, the Premier League has football fans around the world.

So here we are, really, really far from March 2020, when all English and Scottish football came to a blatant halt after Mikel Arteta at Arsenal and Callum Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea separately tested for coronavirus. But that was nearly two years ago now — we finally stopped listening for ambulances, became weary of conflicting information, turned off our push alerts, called our friends, and sought to feel numb and put off. I can say with a little exaggeration that the structural version of the Premier League that finally came back saved my mind. Over time, fans returned with a premature sense of normalcy, and now business is somewhat business as usual, although it shouldn’t be. Even with the omicron variant emerging, and the UK recording more than 80,000 new cases per day, English clubs have been told to smile and bear, and postponements come late if they come at all.

Frank, who saw the two Brentford matches postponed last week, was among the first to suggest a halt to matches. Not having to play Southampton and Manchester United, in his estimation, gave the bees the breathing room they needed to “break the cycle of virus transmission”. You need look no further than the 2019-20 season for precedent, after all, clever scheduling has allowed Premier League clubs to take a ‘winter break’ for themselves. Why can’t they once again stop things and focus on rearranging their homes? Or at least determine the capacity of the stadium and confirm the vaccination status of their players and staff?

Looking at the clubs that just finished handing over cash to TV companies to cancel business two years ago, the answers to these questions are clear and daunting. That would be very logical and would cost a lot of money.

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