Gary Neville: What about a festival of football to finish season?

Football in England has been suspended until April 30 at the earliest after a meeting on Thursday

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Gary Neville is hoping for a condensed 'festival of football' once the season finally gets back under way

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes a "festival of football" could be the perfect way to finish off the season and bring joy back to the country once the coronavirus crisis has been overcome.

The resumption of English football was pushed back until April 30 at a meeting between Premier League clubs on Thursday, but the deadline for returning to action has been extended indefinitely and further delays are anticipated.

The delays present a major headache for football's governing bodies as they plan for the 2020/21 season, but, speaking during his appearance on The Debate, Neville came up with a novel solution.

"The last thing I'm worried about is sorting out the fixtures," he said.

"If football players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they'd get their heads around it and make it a festival of football.

"It would be something spectacular. Football can bring some hope and joy to the country when we finally come out of this crisis.

"Doing a festival of football where the league is finished in two weeks, the Champions League gets finished in a week and the FA Cup is finished in four days could be something quite special.

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"I'm not saying they are the examples that should be followed, but there could be something quite spectacular about football fans coming together after this crisis is over.

"It would bring some joy back to the nation as football does impact so many people."

He added: "The least of my worries are the calendar as once the crisis is over I think footballers, the authorities, the associations will want to play as many matches as psychically possible in a week, a month or a three month period to get everything back on track.

"If you think about the Christmas period, clubs play four games in eight days. When we were going to win the Premier League with Manchester United we had a backlog of fixtures due to FA Cup and we played four games in a week. It is possible over a six or an eight week period that there might be four games a week.

"I'm not concerned about squeezing more games in. Players, clubs, managers and physios will understand that you can't complain about fixture congestion next season due to the circumstances. It's a global crisis and football has to react and compromise."

Carra: Liverpool fate 'not most important thing'

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Jamie Carragher thinks it's too ambitious to expect club competitions across Europe to be completed by June 30

Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, added his voice to the growing calls to finish the current season, but insisted Liverpool's Premier League title triumph is not the biggest consideration.

"Nothing is more important than health and beating the coronavirus, but I don't think we should hide away from how much football means to us and how important it is in people's lives - not just Liverpool supporters but everyone right up and down the country," he said.

"It doesn't bother me when football starts again. I just feel that so much has been put into this season by so many people, I don't know how you can stop it.

"We all know Liverpool were, or are, going to go on and win the league. They only need to win one or two games.

"But if the league stops, it just doesn't feel right. Yes, Liverpool may be given the league, that's what people are saying. But there will always be something there that just didn't feel quite right about it.

Mohamed Salah in Premier League action for Liverpool against Bournemouth at Anfield
Image: Liverpool are only two wins from the Premier League title

"But that's not going to affect Liverpool economically, or what division they are in. Teams going out of the Premier League really struggle to get back into the Premier League, so that could affect them for four or five years.

"If Leeds don't get up this season, for example, that could stop them for four or five years and maybe they lose their manager, who knows?

"That's why I say Liverpool isn't the most important thing. It's the teams who are going to lose huge sums of money in completely different divisions.

"So this season has to finish because it impacts next season, because of European places and Champions League places and so on.

"Whenever the date is that we get back to playing football, it needs to be finished. Then we have to be creative with next season."

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