Manchester United could finish this season’s Premier League in China in a proposal being discussed by PL chairmen today.
According to The Athletic, clubs are ‘scrambling, in some cases increasingly desperately, for ideas to complete the season on the field’, with the majority still determined to finish the calendar by hook or by crook.
Club chiefs will meet in a videoconference this afternoon to discuss options, with a showdown tournament in a corona-safe country such as China one of the possibilities being explored.
Bizarrely, this could see Odion Ighalo finish the season with Manchester United in the country he left to join them because of the virus.
French football has been rocked this week as Ligue 1’s main broadcasters Bein Sports and Canal Plus decided to defer TV rights payments to clubs until football resumes, putting top teams under massive financial pressure.
Sky and BT Sports are believed to remain flexible on dates as long as the English season is completed at some point and in some way.
But any delay to the start of next season couldn’t be too great, with the Champions League and Europa league scheduled to start in mid-September and Euro 2021 scheduled for June 21st.
At least three ideas will be discussed at today’s meeting. The China option is being proposed by one PL chief and involves ‘identifying regions where it would be considered both safe on health grounds and feasible in terms of infrastructure to host the remainder of the Premier League season.’
‘In this instance, China, considered to be on the path towards recovery after suffering at the turn of the year, was mooted as the destination of choice.’
‘The proponents of the idea suggested that taking the Premier League out of the country would be a way to decrease strain on the National Health Service.’
Another option under consideration is ‘a World Cup-style base in one region of the country where clubs could stay in local hotels and complete matches behind-closed-doors at neutral locations.’
The third option is a ‘three-week festival of football’ with teams playing up to three games in a week, behind closed doors, to get the Premier League completed.
For Manchester United, any of these options would be better than voiding the season or curtailing it to 29 games, options previously discussed. Voiding the season would condemn the Red Devils to Europa League football next term and the 29-game option would leave United’s fate in the hands of Sheffield United, who could clinch that fifth spot ahead of the Reds if they beat Aston Villa in one of two remaining matches.
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