Professional soccer leagues must emphasize player health over financial loss

Sports leagues all over the world have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. 

The cancellations and postponements of leagues has been a cause for argument and speculation. Various questions about the state of sports leagues have popped up all over social media and sports networks. Questions, such as, when will the leagues be back, will it be safe to finish the leagues, should the leagues be declared as is or should the leagues be declared null and be voided have sparked debates. 

For soccer leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga and many others, their respective country FAs have been discussing the future of the leagues. While some leagues handle this situation with poise, others are laser-focused on continuing the season. Although it would be great to see these leagues back in action and see and the season completed, it looks less and less likely to be possible every day. The focus should be on the safety of the players and not the money that the league misses out on if it is declared null and is voided.

One league that is pushing incredibly hard to continue is the Premier League. Each team has nine to ten games left to play, and the league leaders, Liverpool, are 25 points ahead of the second-place team, Manchester City. Although Liverpool is 25 points ahead of the next best place, they have not mathematically won the league yet. It would be unfair to declare the league as is and hand Liverpool the title because the other teams still have a chance to win. Also, if the league is declared as is then teams in the relegation zone will have to go down into the lower league. This is unfair because the teams in the relegation zone have a mathematical chance to pull themselves up the league table. 

Another scenario that is unfair is if the league is declared null and is voided. Since 1989-1990, Liverpool has not won a Premier League. A 30-year-long wait would have to add another year to it. This would be incredibly frustrating for Liverpool fans and undoubtedly Liverpool players and staff. 

For the Premier League, the only fair scenario is to find a way to finish the games. But is that scenario really fair? Players contracts tend to expire over the summer, and teams would lose some of the players that they had been using due to not giving contract extensions or pre-contract deals with other teams. Finishing the league by all means necessary is going to show a reckless disregard for players’ health and safety.

No matter what decision is made, somebody will have to suffer the consequences. There truly is no win-win scenario. All fans and players can hope for is that the final decision is based upon safety measurements and not money.

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