Harry Kane wants the season done by June while Gary Neville thinks it should be completed no matter what… speculation over the Premier League’s fate is rife but what do those INSIDE the game think will happen next?
- Coronavirus has stopped football in its tracks and it’s unknown what comes next
- Some want season scrapped while others suggest playing behind closed doors
- Here, Sportsmail has collated the thoughts of players, owners and managers
- Harry Kane wants season scrapped but Wayne Rooney says it must be finished
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, there is a lot of talk about what happens next with the football season.
As it stands, any resumption has been put on hold indefinitely, until the virus has been suitably contained and it is safe for players to return to the pitch.
Even then, there are discussions to be had about whether the current season is scrapped, matches are played behind closed doors, or we wait until fans can return to enjoy the full matchday experience.
Here, Sportsmail has collated views from across the world of football, to see what players, managers, owners and pundits think about what should happen next…
Grounds, including Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, have had gates closed since March 9
Wes Morgan, Leicester captain: ‘As soon as the government or the football authorities deem it safe, or at least safe to play under quarantine, we have to do it’, he told The Times.
‘It would be a big sacrifice for a lot of people. It’s not easy being away from family for that long but you can speak on FaceTime. And once you’re in that bubble, you learn to get on with it.
‘It would be a boost to the nation. Everyone is missing it. I think everyone feels the hole its absence has left in our lives. When this first happened, and there was talk about playing behind closed doors, I wasn’t up for it.
‘Fans make the game what it is, create the atmosphere. It would be a shame if they weren’t able to see us play. But considering the scale of this crisis, and how long we’re having with no football, there’s been a change in perspective.
‘I think most fans would be happy to see the games on TV. And the players know we’ve got a responsibility to play — as long as it’s safe to do so.’
Wes Morgan has changed his mind and now thinks games should be played without fans
Leroy Sane, Manchester City forward: ‘You read something different every day and not even the experts agree on this, so it’s difficult for me to make an assessment,’ he told the German FA’s website.
‘All I can say is that I really miss football and want to be back on the pitch as soon as possible.
‘We have no choice but to trust the experts and to be ready for when we are told to start again. If it does continue then it will probably be behind closed doors.
‘But that would also be fine. It’s important that we find solutions, without taking people’s health lightly. Purely from a sporting point of view, it would, of course, be the fairest thing to do if the season was still somehow finished.’
Leroy Sane says fairest way to go is to finish the season without taking people’s health lightly
Chris Wilder, Sheffield United manager: ‘At first, I didn’t want to play the remaining games behind closed doors but my point of view now is that, if that is what it has to be in order to finish the season, then that is what it has to be,’ he told Oliver Holt in the Mail on Sunday.
‘There’s no compromise in this. We have to finish the season, however long it takes.
‘The idea of freezing positions as they are now is not for me, even though you look at the table and think it wouldn’t be a bad result for this club from a selfish point of view.
‘Everyone will look at it from a selfish point of view and they have to come out of that. The Premier League season is a race. It is 38 games. No matter how many points somebody is ahead or how many points somebody is behind, it’s sport and anything can happen.’
Chris Wilder says there can be no compromises and the top flight season must be finished
Darragh MacAnthony, Peterborough chairman: ‘I have no problem with the plan,’ he told the Peterborough Telegraph. ‘I thought we might be back in training earlier than May 16 like in Germany, but if we have to play the rest of the games in 56 days behind closed doors let’s just get it done.
‘It’s not ideal and I know some people are saying it’s crazy and ridiculous, but these people tend to be at clubs who are in danger of relegation or have nothing to play for.
‘I understand self-preservation, but we have to protect the integrity of our competition and the clubs have contracts they need to fulfil with regards to sponsorship and other financial deals which we might end up forfeiting if we just stop the season and start again next season.
‘I believe the risks of sports professionals becoming infected are minimal. I believe there is a controlled way of getting the season finished and we should just do it now. We need to stop all the moaning and get on with it.’
Luke Shaw, Manchester United defender: ‘Scrap it and start again. Start it again yeah,’ he said during a Combat Corona Twitch FIFA competition. ‘It’s gotta be you know. If we can’t carry it on it’s got to be void.
‘Fans are so important. You realise it even more [now]. I think the sport is for fans really, do you know what I mean? I think if you don’t have fans, and you don’t play in front of fans, it just doesn’t feel right.
‘Especially on matchday the fans are always amazing and always help the team. Whether it’s home or even away, our fans are always brilliant and I feel like they’re always there with us.’
Luke Shaw is in favour of the season being scrapped and started again for 2020-21
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City midfielder: ‘I have no idea when we will be playing again,’ he told Belgian news site HLN.
‘You haven’t played for six weeks. Normally you’d need a preparation of three to four weeks. If we restart immediately then everybody will be injured after a few games.
‘I know that there’s lots of money involved. But I think that waiting so long to make a decision can cause issues next season.
‘There won’t be a long summer break and you can just postpone everything. I would feel sad if the season is stopped after such a good year, but if it avoids issues for next season, it must be done.’
Kevin De Bruyne says he would be sad but the season must be stopped and restarted
Harry Kane, Tottenham striker: ‘I know the Premier League will do everything it can to finish the season,’ he said in an Instagram Live video with Jamie Redknapp.
‘There needs to be a point where enough is enough. Probably the limit for me is the end of June.
‘Playing into July or August and pushing next season back, I don’t see too much benefit in that. Obviously I don’t know too much about behind the scenes and financially.
‘If the season’s not completed by the end of June we need to look at the options and just look forward to next season.’
Harry Kane says if they can’t finish the season before the end of June it should be scrapped
Sadio Mane, Liverpool forward, does not necessarily want the season to be scrapped, but admits it may have to happen amid the rising coronavirus death rate:
‘I have always said I want to win trophies, the Champions League and the Premier League. I don’t feel like a champion yet. I want to win on the pitch and get the trophy.
‘But with the situation, people around the world losing family members… it’s my dream – but if it’s not the case, it’s part of life.’
Sadio Mane says it is part of life that the season might have to be scrapped before the end
Stop season now and give Liverpool the title
Jose Holebas, Watford defender: ‘In my opinion, you have to cancel the season, for me that is pretty clear,’ the Greece international told Sky Sports.
‘I would give Liverpool the title, they deserve it and have played incredible football this season.
‘They are clearly the number one team. I think it makes no sense to keep rescheduling all the time.’
Jose Holebas (left) says the season must be cancelled and the title awarded to Liverpool
Wait and finish season as normal
Gary Neville, Manchester United legend: ‘It would be an absolute doomsday scenario for football, at the end of the day football doesn’t matter at this moment in time, but it would have to be a doomsday scenario for football not to finish the existing fixtures for this season.
‘I don’t see how essentially you can shift on with next season without essentially finishing those fixtures.’
Gary Neville says this season must be finished before the next campaign can be considered
Aaron Cresswell, West Ham defender: ‘Of course, we’re all missing it but there is a whole bigger picture than a game of football and I believe once all this has blown over, we can get back up and running.
‘None of us know how long we will be out for and we all want to stay in the Premier League, but we cannot rush back just because people say we need to do it in a certain time period to complete the season.
‘When we go back to full training, regardless of how much we’ve done, we will need a mini pre-season of two or three weeks but when we do go back, who knows?
‘There is talk of playing games behind closed doors before the crowds return but I hope the players are respected as much as the public are, and they don’t just ask us to play for entertainment on TV.’
Aaron Cresswell says the top flight players need to be respected as much as the public are
Wayne Rooney, Derby midfielder and England’s all-time top goalscorer: ‘The world is facing something serious and we in football should not be different from the rest of the population,’ he said in his column for The Times. ‘Football is what everybody — especially in Britain — wakes up thinking about, but it has to take a back seat. This crisis is so much bigger than our game.
‘The one thing missing from all the announcements last week was the FA ruling that every club should keep their players at home and not put anyone at risk, instead of leaving it to individual clubs to decide. I’d like to have seen that.
‘But otherwise we now know where we’re going. The FA helped to clarify that the league season will finish and that is fair.
‘Liverpool will win the Premier League. [They] have been fantastic. They have put so much work in. They deserve this title. Can you imagine waiting 30 years and then having it taken away like this? The right decision has been made.’
Wayne Rooney says it is right for Liverpool to secure title after finishing the remaining games
Glenn Murray, Brighton striker: ‘First and foremost all professional footballers want to finish the league. Obviously it all depends on timings of the virus and how quickly we can get over this.
‘But for me I watched a couple of games in Italy without fans and the game’s just not the same.
‘I think we need to wait until we can fill the stadiums up. Make it a celebratory atmosphere and enjoy being in the stadiums together because without the fans football’s just not the same.’
Glenn Murray says football isn’t the same without fans and football should wait for them
Steven Davis, Rangers midfielder: ‘Hopefully this season can be played to a finish at the earliest but safest opportunity. Rangers wouldn’t exist without its fans, therefore I personally do not believe games should be played behind closed doors.
‘We’ve been given specific fitness and dietary programmes to follow in the coming weeks to enable us to be in the best physical condition possible to be ready for the challenges of the current season being played out to an end.
‘Football must be secondary right now and it’s vital we follow the advice of the government to get this virus under control.’
Rangers’ Steven Davis believes football is secondary and the virus must be kept under control
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