Clubs should 'take pain' of short 2020/21 to allow this season to finish, Mark Warburton tells The Debate
Run shorter 2020/21 Premier League season to allow domestic game to return to normal schedule, Mark Warburton tells The Debate
Last Updated: 17/03/20 10:38am
Should this season be allowed to finish ahead of a reduced 20/21? Could English football become a summer sport until the World Cup in 2022? The Debate panel discuss what should follow the return of the domestic game....
With Euro 2020 expected to be postponed when UEFA meet on Tuesday, ahead of a Premier League meeting on Thursday to discuss the future of the domestic season which is currently on hold until April 3 "at the earliest", there have been a number of different proposals put forward as to how the English game - with around three quarters of 2019/20 complete - can go forward.
- Paul Merson Says: Liverpool early title win seems wrong
- Premier League to extend talks into next week
- European football set for defining day
- Listen to The Debate Podcast here
West Ham co-owner Karren Brady said on Saturday the current campaign should be declared "null and void", essentially stripping Liverpool of an all-but-confirmed first Premier League title, while others have said the campaign should continue once coronavirus issues subside.
QPR manager Mark Warburton, who told The Debate clubs were "clutching at straws" trying to estimate when the domestic game will return, said completing the season should be a priority - with a reduced 2020/21 to help accommodate the lost time.
"Teams may have to play three games a week to make way for things," he said. "But for me, next season is not important. We have to finish this season now. Let's say October 1 ends up being the start date, and if you go through to the start of December, we're looking at a January 1 start date.
"Start in August, pre-season programme, everyone's fit and ready to go - to do that, we've got to take some pain somewhere. For me, it should be next season.
"Next season, if it becomes 19 games in the Premier League, 10 home nine away, we have to bite the bullet. I think you have to look at it and think how do we fit it in? Otherwise we extend for another period, no one's mentioned the new summer Club World Cup finals, that hasn't come into the debate yet either."
Run English football by calendar year?
Former EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey told the programme he considered the idea of a January-October season could work until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which as it stands will be held midway through the 2022/23 domestic English season.
- Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp and more on The Debate
- Leeds chief insists season is completed
No other major European league runs on a calendar year basis, but Harvey suggested the English game could break with tradition before a short season at the start of 2023 allowed things to return to normal.
"There has to be some pain taken out of what is known as our traditional football season at some stage to get this back," he said. "The question is when do you actually take that pain? You can take the pain at the start of next season, the season after or even the season after that.
"The only logic of that statement is, if you started in January and went through to October you could potentially host the Euros in that November to December slot.
"Yes, we've changed the whole fabric of English football because we're now playing January to October and across Europe other leagues will have to follow because they all need their leagues to finish. You do exactly the same the year after and we get the Qatar World Cup at the end of that season.
"If I was going to pick a season to treat differently then I'd pick the one after the Qatar World Cup, potentially playing home or away rather than home and away at that time.
"The benefit of doing that is you get two full seasons to repair any financial damage that's taken place, and nobody knows particular division they are going to be in at that particular time. So, if it's going to be a short season, everybody knows what it is that they are playing for with plenty of notice and that stops the legal debate and the potential threat of legal action."
Smith: We must finish the season
Whatever the outcome of the next few weeks and months, Alan Smith told The Debate the season must be completed, however long that takes.
"From what I hear there are still some Premier League clubs that would like the season to be null and voided as it were, and I'm sure they'll make their feelings plain," the former Arsenal striker said.
"But I think the vast majority don't want that to happen. Of course, self-interest plays a part and it always does when it comes to the 20 Premier League owners and chairman voting on issues. They'll be thinking about their interests and their clubs, that's human nature.
"It can't end like that. There's no fair way of doing it. Whatever happens, we've got to end this season and worry about the kick back from it and what could happen to next season later.
"But whether we end in September or October, we've got to finish it."
Watch The Debate live on Sky Sports News and Premier League every night this week from 7-9pm.
Join Sky Bet Club and track your progress towards a £5 free Bet
Opt in and bet £25 or more before 23:59 on Sunday. Free bets credited by 7pm on Monday.