At this point, it’s clear that the restart of the Premier League is motivated by money and not sporting integrity. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There isn’t a fan in the world who wouldn’t kill to watch their team play at the moment.
However, questions must be asked about what kind of Premier League will return in the coming months. Firstly, it will be without fans in the stadium. Secondly, there’s no telling what kind of condition the players will be in when play resumes.
It’s likely going to be all over the place. This may be worthwhile for teams who still have something to play for. However, for teams who have nothing to play for, should they take the risk?
The Premier League will of course ensure that it is as safe as possible to play games. However, it is still a risk for players and team personnel. If a team’s season is effectively over, should players put themselves in danger in order to play meaningless games?
High profile stars Raheem Sterling, Troy Deeney and Danny Rose have all voiced their concerns about returning to action. Derby County player-coach Wayne Rooney is on the record saying that he thinks it’s too soon to play again.
On Tuesday, Diamian Lillard of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers highlighted the potential folly of playing meaningless games amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Damian Lillard said that he wouldn’t participate in the NBA’s season restart if his team didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs.
“It’s going to be hard to get going with no fans. You’ve been off all this time and some people are just ready for summer like, ‘[Expletive] it, I haven’t played in a long time and the season is basically over to me. Do I really care like I cared before?’ It’s going to be a lot of those factors going on and that presents a lot of room for a team to sneak some [expletive].
“Like, really mess around and knock some teams off and then, ‘Oh, they’re in the Western Conference finals.’ It’s room for that with this situation. So the fact that it’s possible and we wouldn’t get an opportunity at that, that’s weak to me. I ain’t getting no younger.”