With European football now firmly underway once more the business end of seasons are rapidly approaching, but with the coronavirus pandemic altering the landscape of all sports in 2020, it remains to be seen just how ‘normal’ the footballing world will be at the start of next season.
English Premier League clubs are currently favouring a restart in September rather than the end of August as the FA is vying for, so it will be interesting to see what start date will be given the green light for the 2020-21 season.
For the FA, an August start is preferred because England’s UEFA Nations League fixtures against Iceland – England are 4/6 to win – and Denmark are scheduled for September 5 and 8 respectively – you can take advantage of btts and win tips way in advance of these fixtures as well as the rest of the domestic season games. For clubs, however, a three-month break from competitive action – as is usually the norm – will not be possible, making a pre-season very unlikely.
Aside from the fixture arguments then, just how else can we expect the new season to look differently?
Attendances will be restricted
Right now, no one is attending games in the footballing leagues and this kind of heavy restriction will almost certainly continue for the start of next season. With other sports talking about reduced capacity at stadiums, there is some kind of hope that a limited number of fans could possibly spectate further down the line.
Experts have warned that the increasing pace of games combined with the fact that players will not exactly be in the best shape with no pre-season, injury rates will increase and could rise by as much as 25%. That, in turn, means that teams will be changed around on a continuous basis in the next few months as clubs face having to deal with players being out for longer than normal.
A permanent change
Social distancing is – and will be – very much part of our everyday lives. For footballing sides, that has led to the reduction in the number of support staff attending games as well as changing methods outside of the games themselves. With the coronavirus not going away anytime soon, some of those changes could well become more permanent as clubs adapt to new ways of controlling the changes and making them more comfortable.
With football returning, however, the end of the season is the goal at present. And, with most competitions coming to a halt in the upcoming weeks, footballing fans will have a wealth of entertainment to choose from and bet on. These are unprecedented times though and it could be months – if not years – before full normality resumes.