When will European football return?

When will Europes main football leagues start playing again_

With over a third of the world now on lockdown due to the Coronavirus and most sporting events cancelled we look forward to when this is all over and what a year of sports we could have. Once the world is on top of this huge problem and football returns we have a lot of games and events to fit in, this could lead to the largest amount of televised action that we have ever seen.

We look at when each of the major 5 leagues will return.

European Leagues – What date will they be back?*

*Current information based on media expectations and league official notices. Correct on 16/4/20

The whole of European soccer has been shut down during the outbreak and it leaves us with more questions than answers as to what will happen.

Here is the latest state of play for each of the top 5 leagues

Premier League – On hold

Premier League logoThere is now a belief that the league could look to start around the start of June and have multiple games every day to get the league completed in as quick a time as possible. Some clubs have been mentioned as wanting to get the league finished before the 30th of June due to the contract issues.

It is to be expected that games will be behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.

The main problem they are facing is how to fishing the league in time for next season to start, as well as the impact that will have on teams. As with all football, any decisions made will hugely impact the finances of clubs and this could have a knock-on affect on the transfer markets.

Another issue they face is that f the league isn’t completed by the 30th of June any player whose contract is expiring will no longer be part of the club. This could generally be sorted by extended contracts but may cause some issues, for example, with loan deals like Ighalo at Manchester United who is set to return to China on this date.

Some ideas that have been mentioned have been to scrap this season and start again next season. Again this leads to more questions about which teams will qualify for Europe and what happens to the teams in the Championship who are vying for a promotion. Another suggestion is to extend this season further and then scrap the FA Cup and Carabaro Cup to make way for Premier League matches to take place and get the season done in a shorter period of time. This would be a blow to both cups but could be a workable option for one season.

We will update this blog as the time goes on and things change.

Bundesliga – Expected back late May

Bundesliga logoThe Bundesliga had been mentioned as returning in mid-May but this is expected to be delayed. The government were expected to discuss this yesterday but did not due to time. The next review will be on the 30th of April.

There has been some talk of the teams agreeing to write this season off and allow two teams from the Bundesliga 2 to be promoted and just run a bigger league next season. Again this leaves questions bout European qualification but seems a sensible approach when considering the safety of the players and residents of the country. The attitude in German football seems very different to UK football where it seems to be seen as essential for the integrity of the league to finish the season.

Seria A – On hold indefinitely

Seria A logoItaly’s Seria A has been on hold for the longest time of any league after the outbreak of the virus there. It was recently described by the World Health organisation as the new epicentre of the virus in the world. There has been a number of players from the league who have tested positive for the virus including Juventus star Pablo Dybala.

Earlier in March, after a meeting of the teams, it was mooted that the season may not be finished there at all. Based on the current situation in the country it is possible that they may also write the season off and start again.

Ligue 1 – 15th June

Ligue 1 logoLigue 1 is not expected to restart until the 15th of June at the earliest according to the clubs union. This gives them a full 3-month break from football for things to be under control. Like the UK the French league are also keen to finish the season regardless of how long it takes.

It has been mentioned that the current season could still be running in August this year. This would mean a very quick break before the 20/21 season started as that cannot run over due to the rescheduling of Euro 2021.

La Liga – Suspended indefinitely

With the whole of Spain on lockdown and Madrid being the centre of their outbreak it could be a while before La Liga is back.

The league as officially been suspended indefinitely saying they will not return until it is safe to do so. They had initially suspended two rounds of matches after a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for the virus and they train at the same facility as the football team. As the outbreak progressed they suspended the league.

Champions League and Europa League

The Champions League and Europa League do not have a return date for this season. We would expect that these may not resume this season. Whilst the leagues are set to return having the remaining countries all ready to play again and travel at the same time seems tricky.

It has been suggested that they could play a small tournament in one country to finish off and scrap having two legs for the games. This would make an interesting spectacle towards the end of the summer. It could lead to some problems if not every country or player was available, through illness or due to contract expiry.

It could be the case that Liverpool is still the reigning European Champions next season! Who knows on this one!

Euro 2020 – Now Euro 2021

Could there have ever been a worse time for across Europe Championship? It was no surprise to see Euro 2020 postponed as this gives the leagues more time to finish over the summer and allows Euro2021 to go ahead in a safer environment. If you, like me, have tickets for the event these are still valid and only the date has changed slightly. If you are no longer able to make it or do not wish to travel, you will be offered a full refund from UEFA in the coming months – keep an eye on your emails.

What leagues will resume first?

Around the world countries are at different stages of the pandemic and as such leagues will come back at different times. We have seen that Belarus are still playing on regardless and still have fans watching the games.

It is expected that the Chinese Super League may return, albeit behind closed doors, at the end of May. The Japanese J league is also expected to be back around that time. We will update this post when we have confirmed dates for leagues to restart.