Imagine that your favorite club spends $1 million on a new indoor pool. Not during the current Coronavirus stoppage, but at any time. However, after six months the physios learn the new pool in no way improves the players' fitness, rehabs their injuries faster, or benefits the players and club in any way.
Would you want the players to continue using the pool? Probably not. Maybe if the data was inconclusive, but that's the only reason. (Yes, the physios can design new trainings, but let's say the problem is the pool itself.)
Let's go one step further, though. Let's say the indoor pool actually made players worse off. Would you want the club to keep using the pool? Of course not.
But the club spent $1 million dollars! Surely, you can't let that go to waste, right? No fan in their right mind would advocate for this, especially not at the detriment to the team.
Let's say your team signed a player for $100 million dollars, but he hasn't performed. Would you want the manager continue to run him out there? Of course not.
But he cost so much money! We can't let that $100 million go to waste! Again, no sane fan would say this.
If the manager thinks that expensive player is still the best option, then play him. But never should he play because of the money spent in the past.
No matter how trivial or significant to a club, the money for the hypothetical pool and made-up flop both remain in the past and amount to nothing more a sunk cost.
Investopedia defines a sunk cost as money already spent and which cannot be recovered. In essence, the money is gone; you cannot get it back. Plus, the past is the past and cannot be changed. Therefore, don't worry about it.
In fact, you should never even consider sunk costs when making decisions now as they only justify past decisions, but cannot affect the future.
That's what the 2019/20 Premier League, La Liga, hell even MLS seasons have become - sunk costs. And that's regardless of how far into the season each league around the world currently is.
Liverpool's huge lead at the top, the teams eliminated in the group stages of the Champions League, all of that cannot be recovered or changed. And as sunk costs, leagues shouldn't consider those factors as they deliberate what they will do once the Coronavirus stoppage ends.
Yet, right now, the prevailing sentiment when it comes to leagues around the world is that the season must be completed, as opposed to voiding the season and striking it from the record books or just ending the season as is, whether that be playing out the remaining schedule or using a playoff of some sort.
But are the decision makers trying to see a conclusion of leagues because of what has already happened or because it's the best option going forward?
If their reason to finish the season is because of future revenue, TV contracts, sponsors, European places, potential lawsuits etc., then at least those are the right factors to consider.
But if it is sporting integrity with regards to an unbalanced schedule, the "special" season Liverpool's having, or anything else from the season that has already happened, that is the wrong way to go about it.
There's only 10 games left for clubs, depending on the team. So we might as well just finish the season, right? I mean, we're so close to the end.
Back to our made-up flop, would you want the manager to continue playing him because he's already two years into his three year contract? It's only one more year and he costs a lot of money. Gotta get your money's worth, right?
Of course not. The money is gone. You can't get it back. You just have to move on. And the same for this season. What's done is done and cannot change or be recovered.
When soccer does come back, the decision of how to proceed should not and cannot consider what has already happened up to now. They are sunk costs and cannot make the future any better.
The only way to decide what's best going forward is to only consider what will happen in the future because of the choices made now. Including any sunk costs - which is what the 2019/20 Premier League and other leagues' seasons are now - in the decision making process will only lead to a suboptimal choice.