In Brief

Is Uefa in denial about the feasibility of finishing season?

A number of Premier League clubs doubt if fixtures can be completed

Uefa is still striving to complete the Champions League and Europa League but increasingly it looks like it is in denial about the gravity of the situation.

According to The Guardian more and more Premier League clubs are “actively discussing the possibility of bringing the season to an early end, with concerns growing over the feasibility of a return even behind closed doors”.

At a meeting last week of the 20 clubs and officials from the Premier League there was a unanimous desire to try and finish the season, but nonetheless that ambition could not conceal the bitter truth that it may no longer be possible.

Attempts in France to reschedule the domestic rugby union season for July were abandoned on Wednesday on instructions from medical officials and that is an omen of what confronts football.

The Guardian says Premier League clubs are openly discussing the hurdles in the way of a return “with some asking whether the challenges will soon become too great”.

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Moyes has doubts

West Ham United’s David Moyes is the first Premier League manager to articulate the doubts, saying this week: “The deeper and deeper you look the harder you feel it is to get it up running again.”

The Guardian has spoken to clubs who have aired a number of concerns including finance and sporting integrity, but the most pressing one is medical safety. 

“I think we’ve got to realise there are a lot of people whose lives we could be putting at risk,” said Moyes. 

“We can’t let that happen. I think until we have the testing, which we need for the nurses and the doctors - I’m finding it really difficult to see where the conclusion is and how we can start [to play].” 

Reality check

Uefa, however, continues to claim that it will be possible to complete the two showpiece competitions. 

According to BBC Sport, at a video conference of its 55 associations on Tuesday Uefa said there was “still the possibility of the competitions being played throughout June, July and August”.

That would entail completing the domestic leagues by 31 July and then finishing the Champions League and Europa League in August. 

The BBC says that Uefa’s plan is for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of both competitions to be played as two-legged ties between 11 and 22 August, although these could yet become one-off games. 

Fixture jam

But the plan ignores the fact that the rescheduled matches would cut into the start of the 2020-21 season, creating further problems, and cluttering up a fixture list that is already crammed given that the 2020 European Championships have been pushed back to June 2021. 

“We’ve got to be careful that we are not asking an incredible amount of the players,” said Moyes.

Today’s back pages

Phil Neville to leave Lionesses role next summer

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