The Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson, believes the Premier League season must be played to a finish after the Covid-19 shutdown is over instead of using “artificial means” to decide the champions as well as relegation and Champions League spots.
With football in England suspended since 13 March because of the pandemic, Hodgson said teams might have to accept increased safety restrictions and having to play more games in a shorter period when play resumes.
“Everyone is in total agreement we need an end to this season,” the 72-year old told the club’s website. “We don’t want artificial means of deciding who wins the league, who gets into the Champions League, who gets relegated and promoted. Ideally our players would have three or four weeks minimum to prepare for the first match back, but I accept there may have to be a squeeze on that timeframe.
“It might mean extra restrictions at our place of work. It may also mean that we have to play our … remaining matches in a shorter period of time than we normally would have done, and subsequently receive a shorter break between the seasons.”
The season was originally suspended until 30 April but that has since been extended indefinitely, with the resumption of play now contingent on medical advice and government support. Palace are 11th in the league and have nine games left to play.
Hodgson also paid tribute to the “magnificent” efforts of frontline workers during the crisis, but added that in his view, the NHS should not have to rely on charitable donations.
“I’ve always been a huge supporter of the NHS, they do and have always done a fantastic job,” Hodgson said. “We’re so lucky in this country to have a system like it, I’ve always felt that we do have a fantastic service and now it’s being demonstrated to everyone so clearly, that the resources we put in are well spent.
“I hope it might in future make us more aware that if you want this level of service, it needs a certain level of economic support – and I’m hopeful it will come from our taxes. We can’t rely on the NHS being funded by charities or people making donations … the work they’re doing is quite incredible and needs adequate resourcing.
“The praise they’re getting however enormous it is, will never be enough,” Hodgson concluded. “The job that doctors and nurses do is something you only fully appreciate at times like this, or when you are in need of help. To each and every one of them, thank you.”