Will European Soccer Resume?


Koen Samuel, Assistant Editor

It is unclear when sports or athletic competitions around the world will resume. That timetable is unclear and at this point, something of secondary importance to the pandemic. In Europe, each country’s footballing association has been faced with the task of deciding what to do with the season. Do they wait to finish the season when its safe? Do they scrap the season and start fresh when its safe? Should there be a champion awarded? Should there be promotion and relegation? Should there be fans at the games? 

While each league is entitled to do what’s best for them, there is much uncertainty about the direction moving forward for European football for  the foreseeable future. In this article we’ll take a look at the different leagues and how they’ll be handling this issue. 

Ligue 1 and 2 in France have already ended the season. What’s interesting is that this is the only major league in Europe that had a contingency plan in place should something have caused the season to end prematurely. They have awarded the title to Paris Saint Germain and have awarded Champions League places. But there is much controversy. While the rules are the rules and they were in place at the beginning of the season, the argument is that teams haven’t gotten the opportunity to finish the season. Lyon is threatening legal action because they haven’t been given an opportunity to finish their pursuit to qualify for Europe. At the bottom of the table, Amiens are doing the same because they haven’t been given the opportunity to avoid relegation. French football has a tough few weeks coming up. 

In the Netherlands, the season was cancelled without a champion or teams relegated and promoted. This has been the only league to make that kind of decision thus far. 

In Germany, the Bundesliga, the season is still up in the air. There are hopes to finish the season behind closed doors in the summer. The decision is expected to be made within the next week. In Italy, one of hardest hit countries hit by the virus, Serie A, all 20 clubs voted to carry on the season “whenever possible.” In Spain, La Liga has the same hope. They recently announced a plan to test players as a start to bringing the league back. These three leagues are optimistic they can resume play in the near future. 

In England, the FA has not made a decision as yet. England has one of the most comprehensive and competitive league structures in the world. It is unclear whether a champion will be awarded, or if there will be promotion and relegation. On May 1 they announced that they will only return under government guidance. Some teams in the top flight, The Premier League, have an extra game to play, and the relegation battle would be heated if the FA scrapped the season and sent teams down or up. 

The soccer leagues in Europe have some big decisions to make. Either way they are going to face criticisms from teams or fans. While some leagues have already made their decisions, others have yet to open the Pandora’s Box of what they could do.