Those desperate to see the Premier Soccer League (PSL) campaign brought to a sporting conclusion with the remainder of the fixtures completed will draw encouragement from several new developments worldwide as football authorities look to get the game restarted.
First is the emphatic denial by Uefa that their president‚ Aleksander Ceferin‚ said August 5 was the absolute last day the 2019-20 season could extend to.
In response‚ the head of the Italian FA has suggested the Serie A season could be extended to September or October‚ warning that there could be an “avalanche of litigation” if it was not settled on the field.
In Germany‚ champions Bayern Munich returned to training on Monday‚ in small groups and not together but in a clear signal that they want to be prepared to play immediately after it is declared safe to do so at the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
All of these moves over the past 24 hours will be seen as positive steps‚ especially by supporters keen to see a conclusion to the PSL where reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns are hot on the heels of long-time league leaders Kaizer Chiefs. There is also the Nedbank Cup to be concluded.
Uefa boss Ceferin spent the weekend repeating last week’s announcement that they remain intent on finishing the Champions League and Europa League and want domestic leagues throughout Europe to also finish.
He made several media appearances and on German TV said: “It is still better to play the game behind closed doors and have it on TV‚ which is what the people need and want because it brings positive energy to their homes‚ than not playing at all.”
But pushed on whether the season could be abandoned totally‚ he did add: “If the authorities do not allow us to play‚ then we cannot play.”
Italian football boss Gabriele Gravina said it was imperative to complete Serie A‚ suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The only serious way to handle a serious emergency of this kind is to complete the 2019-2020 season competitions this year‚” he said. “We are working on a whole series of possible solutions to manage the situation in the best possible way.
“Could it finish in September or October. That is one hypothesis. It’s a way to avoid jeopardising not only the 2019-20 season but also the 2020-21 season.”
Uefa was forced to issue a statement on Sunday denying reports that it had said all competitions had to finish by August 3.
“This is not true. Uefa is analysing all options to complete domestic and European seasons with the European Club Association and the European Leagues in the working group set up on March 17. The primary priority of all the members of the working group is to preserve public health.
“Following on from that is to find calendar solutions to complete all competitions. Options are being studied to play matches in July and in August if needed‚ depending on restart dates and the permission of national authorities.”
Bayern players returned to training on Monday for the first time since the Bundesliga season was suspended.
The players have been divided into groups of four and will train apart and then go home without using the stadium facilities even for a post-workout shower. They will arrive at separate times too‚ and be checked before they have any interaction with teammates.
The Bundesliga campaign has been on hold since March 13 and remains suspended until at least April 30 after a meeting of league clubs last Tuesday.