Monday, April 06, 2020
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Premier League postponement to April 30 means Liverpool will win the title

So, there we have it. There will be no Premier League football until 30 April at the very earliest now, after the initial resumption date of 4 April was pushed back in this morning’s official announcement.

More importantly, though, is the fact that the FA have ‘indefinitely’ lifted their rule which states that the season must not finish later than 1 June, and with Euro 2020 having been postponed by UEFA until next summer, there is no longer a set deadline to complete the 2019/20 campaign by a certain date.

Importantly, the announcement reaffirmed a collective determination to fulfil the remaining fixtures “as soon as it is safe and possible to do so”, whether that means doing so in May, June, July or perhaps even August if that turns out to be necessary, even if that means delaying the start of next season as a result.

On the one hand, it means Liverpool’s wait for the title is going to drag on significantly longer than anyone could have anticipated only a few weeks ago – but more importantly, it should put to bed any lingering talk of simply abandoning the season or declaring it ‘null and void’, as has been opportunistically suggested in certain quarters in recent days.

It’s a decision full of common sense, and one which is essential for the integrity of the game as a whole moving forward, not just from a Liverpool perspective. European qualification, promotion and relegation places need to be decided properly before next season can happen, and the only way to do so fairly is to play the games which still need to be played.

That might well mean the rest of the season has to be completed behind closed doors, which, although far from an ideal scenario  – especially for Liverpool when it comes to being crowned champions  – is a compromise worth making if that’s what it takes to get it done. Parades can be put on hold until a later date.

The 2020/21 season hasn’t even come into existence yet, so the idea of simply ‘cancelling’ this one, which is already three-quarters of the way through, never made any real sense in the first place (except for those self-interested parties who had hoped their own clubs’ failings might be wiped from the history books).

Whenever football does resume again, it’s all going to feel a bit weird for everyone having had such a prolonged and unexpected hiatus – including for the players and managers whose jobs have been put on hold. It’ll probably feel more like starting a new season again, as opposed to a natural continuation of the current one, because all our lives will have been affected so profoundly by that point. None of us have experienced a scenario remotely like it.

As such, there will always be naysayers who’ll claim in years to come that it wasn’t a ‘fair’ league anymore, or that Liverpool’s title will somehow be irreversibly ‘tainted’ by the wider circumstances – but all that doesn’t matter, because the truth is, the title has been a foregone conclusion for several months already. It just needs to be signed off in the record books, which should now happen at some point in the months ahead.

Until then, we can focus our minds on the more urgent issues which really, truly matter in the current climate. The league title will come in due course, and after 30 years since the last one, what’s another few months? It’ll be worth the wait in the end.

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