Dubai: Who says the Premier League is quiet?
As the coronavirus continues to lay waste to sports schedules across the globe and the top stars in England go through self-isolation and quarantine, one man has stirred up a bit of a hornets’ nest.
Tottenham Hotspur’s injury-plagued star striker Harry Kane has thrown his weight behind a call-off of the 2019-20 season if things do not get back under way soon.
A cancellation of the season would really — really — work in Spurs’ favour, as they languish in eighth place in the Premier League standings on 41 points. That is a gargantuan but unwantedly, embarrassingly symmetrical 41 points behind leaders Liverpool.
The Reds have dominated all season and should already be celebrating their first top-flight title in 30 years and a first ever Premer League accolade.
But then came COVID-19, which rightly showed the entire sporting world the red card in the name of human health and safety, meaning Liverpool’s title party is still on hold.
To contain the spread of the virus, the English football season has been suspended until April 30 at the earliest.
Uefa chief Aleksandr Ceferin has admitted he fears that the top-flight leagues across Europe will struggle to be concluded due to a back-log of fixtures, and a cancellation — a wipe-the-slate scenario, if you will — is very much on the cards, should players not be able to take to the field before the end of June.
This is something that would massively help mediocre Tottenham — the 2019 Champions League finalists, as a cancelled season would reinstate them in next season’s competition along with all the other 2018-19 qualifiers.
“There needs to be a point where enough is enough. Probably the time limit for me is the end of June,” said Kane. The striker, who is also England captain, went on to explain that there is no point in extending the season until July and August as it will cause a delay in the commencement of the next season.
“Playing into July or August and pushing next season back, I don’t see too much benefit in that,” he added, before passing the buck — so to speak. “If the season’s not completed by the end of June we need to look at the options and just look forward to next season. Obviously I don’t know too much about behind the scenes and financially."
Amid the chaos at Uefa and the Premier League in London, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has voiced an opinion that any fair-minded football fan would agree with: regardless of the outcome, Liverpool deserve to be awarded the title.
The German international was echoing thoughts from his City boss Pep Guardiola and most right-thinking bosses in England when he said it would only be “fair” for rivals Liverpool to be awarded the Premier League trophy if the season cannot be completed.
“For me, that would be OK, yes,” Gundogan said. “You have to be fair as a sportsperson.”
With a nod to the struggling teams such as Spurs, and those facing the financially disastrous drop out of the Premier League, Gundogan said: “There are different opinions. For clubs who have had a very good season, it obviously wouldn’t be nice if it was cancelled now. On the other hand, for clubs who aren’t doing as well and are maybe in the relegation places, an abandonment would obviously suit them.”
Tottenham's Kane also bizarrely indicated that he is unsure about his future with Spurs and said his final decision on staying will depend on whether the club can progress.
Striker Kane who has been with Spurs since joining their academy in 2004, and during that time — despite flirting with success so many times — the London club remain trophyless.
Speaking about if his future lies with Tottenham, Kane, said: "I couldn’t say yes and I couldn’t say no. I love Spurs, I have always loved Spurs, but it’s one of those things. I have always said it, if I don’t feel we’re progressing as a team or going in the right direction, then I’m not someone to stay there for the sake of it.
“I’m an ambitious player, I want to improve, get better. I want to become one of the top, top players, so it all depends on what happens as a team and how we progress as a team. It’s not definite that I’m going to stay here forever but it’s not a no either.”
One thing is for sure, he will not be a Livrpool player any time soon...