Over the course of the current 2020/21 Premier League season, there have been plenty of cases of players testing positive for COVID-19. Despite the protection of protocols that have been put in place to insulate players and staff at the 20 Premier League clubs, modern football heroes such as Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus and Ederson at Manchester City have all contracted the virus.
In the last seven days, positive cases in the Premier League have doubled, and with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnston instigating a third national lockdown, should elite football such as the Premier League go ahead?
West Bromwich Albion manager Sam Allardyce thinks that a two-week ‘circuit breaker’ period where Premier League football stops is the solution.
That might be so that Allardyce can get some defensive coaching in with The Baggies, but digging into the numbers in a little more detail, there have been other bad weeks. While this week’s figures of 40 positive tests in 2,295 samples is a COVID-19 case in every 57 people who were tested, back between 9th – 15th November, 16 of the 1,207 people tested had COVID-19, one in 57.
With the Premier League determined to continue, just what effect will COVID-19 suspensions have on the odds to win the biggest prize in British domestic football? Well, according to the bookies, none at all. With Manchester City lagging behind in 5th place, they remain the favourites to win this year’s title.
The Premier League is a huge source of entertainment to millions worldwide and Boris Johnson and the U.K. Government will be desperate to preserve it, as it is arguably Britain’s most successful ever export, the rights being sold for billions around the world.
If Premier League football shut down, the cost would be felt massively and in a way, Premier League clubs don’t just have a responsibility to uphold the protocols for others; it’s a self-sustaining pledge. With no gate receipts, clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur asked fans for a deposit towards season tickets this season. Many fans are still confused what they have paid for and how much, if anything, they’ll get back at the end of the season.
Add into that the fact that any kind of delay to the Premier League season will have an impact on Euro 2021 (or Euro 2020 as the organisers are determined to get us to continue calling it) and would either leave some teams, in particular England, at a disadvantage, or have a rolling delay to the start of the next Premier League season.
With the year just a few days old, any stoppage to play now would set a precedent for further slowdowns later in the season. That could spell disaster for the Premier League – and that impacts mostly on the fans.
Current odds to win the Premier League:
Manchester City – 19/20
Liverpool – 11/4
Manchester United – 7/1
Tottenham Hotspur – 15/1
Leicester City – 40/1
Chelsea – 66/1
Everton – 125/1
Aston Villa – 125/1