The Coronavirus is becoming very real. There has been a momentous rise since the timid warnings of remembering to wash hands. Now, we face the prospect of huge sporting events being shelved. It's a tough situation.
There is talk that the Premier League could continue its matches behind closed doors, according to The Times. That is crazy. Replace bustling vessels of atmosphere with silent mausoleums and you lose the soul of football matches.
You cannot argue with scientists and precautionary measures. The overriding advice has been to wash hands thoroughly, be sensible and be hygienic. It is not the zombie apocalypse! Although, mass gatherings of people in compact stadiums is the absolute dream of a virus that wants to spread. All in all, you can see the reasoning behind pushing for stadiums to be closed.
Lacking a purpose
Pep Guardiola hit the nail on the head. "We play for the people. If they can't be there, it makes no sense," the Spaniard said.
"It's like an actor going to the theatre when nobody is there. Who are you acting for that night? There is no reason to play without the people."
He is absolutely right. The thinking behind this proposal is primarily for the benefit of the television companies.
There would be broadcast coverage of all the games, allowing fans to see their team in action, according to the Daily Mirror. It also wouldn't disrupt the broadcasters who forked out a huge amount on upcoming global events such as Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympic Games. They would be furious at not getting the most out of the rights that they have paid for.
From a business standpoint, it is understandable. These events cost a lot of money to acquire. But, as is the case in most of the world, it is big businesses that will come before the people who make the sport what it is.
The bigger picture
What about the football fans? What about the smaller clubs who actually need those gate receipts to survive?
If the fans cannot attend these matches then it would make more sense to play the fixtures at a later date. If that is simply not plausible then the Football Association should have enough more to reimburse those clubs accordingly. From then on, the football clubs could appease the supporters with refunds.
The easiest thing to do during this pandemic is to play behind closed doors. There really isn't a wholly right answer to satisfy the situation but, while the health of the fans is clearly being considered, their feelings most certainly are not.
The enjoyment of English football could become a chore as millions of supporters would see their beautiful game descend into a mindless grind to the end.