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Villarreal USA Roundtable: What’s the best way to finish the season?

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We take a look at a very broken schedule.

Athletic Club v Villarreal CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

In light of the fact that we really do not seem any closer to taking the pitch than we were two weeks ago, I asked several of our writers what they thought the best way to finish the season schedule would be. You will get everything from detailed calculations to abrupt resolutions, below. Take a look at our ideas and then give your thoughts in the comments:

Allen:

We have eleven matches to play in the Primera and Segunda, plus 2 rounds of playoffs, ten in the Segunda B plus 3 rounds of playoffs, and something similar to that in the Tercera.

I don’t see any solution that is going to be “fair”, or easy. Where I think people are being too optimistic is in assuming once the peak is reached in a country, things fade away quickly, it was all a bad dream, we go back to life as it was before. We don’t.

Especially now people realize how the Atalanta-Valencia match was a huge spreader of infection and never should have happened (same for the Int’l Women’s Day rallies in Madrid and elsewhere in early March) the gov’t is going to be very reluctant to just throw the doors open to football. So I’ve got an optimistic view, and a pessimistic one.

optimistic:

Let’s say though that by June 1 teams are able to get together and practice, with a goal of playing on the 13-14 weekend. If that happens, and then matches happen every midweek, we’d be done by July 18-19. I’ve got to be honest and say that seems too optimistic to me—and I think it can only happen if either the matches are played behind closed doors or spectators are limited to some small number (insert Getafe joke here).

But if it did, you basically have the rest of the month to do the Segunda playoffs (Primera players are off until August 10), your transfer window runs August 1 to August 30, you have preseason from about August 10- September 10, and so you have to compress the 2020-21 season a bit as it would be starting about 3 weeks later than normal. That sounds doable.

pessimistic:

the pandemic hangs on and hangs on for long enough that starting the season in the summer just doesn’t make any sense. In that case, maybe what you end up doing is just running the 11 matches you need to play in October/November/December to finish the 2019-2020 league, and then after Christmas you play a shortened 2020-21 (well, really 2021) season. If you played 19 matches (so, each team once rather than twice), you could start on Jan 8, finish on May 8, only playing on weekends.

Raul:

Play the rest of the season if you can. If not, there’s no best way to do it. If you don’t make promotions, teams from Segunda will complain. If you relegate, teams from Primera will complain. If you give current positions at the table the European spots, teams will complain. If you maintain last season Euro spots, teams will complain. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Sid:

Cancel the remainder of the season. Out of Europe again means big and necessary changes are coming.

Editor’s note: we’ll get more of Sid’s thought’s on this in the third part of our trio of podcasts with him. Get part one here and part two here. We’ll record part three this weekend.

Zach:

Whatever we do, we are just a couple seasons away from another bizarrely scheduled year with a winter World Cup in 2022. There are Euros to contend with in summer 2021 and I think these international tournaments represent fixed points that any schedule going forward will have to contend with. What is odd to me is that most plans for the schedule that I have seen in the media act like we are compelled to have everything back on its normal track as soon as possible, and I do not think we are. I accept that contracts generally end on June 30th but these are extraordinary circumstances. I think these things can be worked around with either short term extensions or simply not allowing players out of contract to register in new competitions until the 2019-2020 season ends.

UEFA has said that European competitions must be completed by August 3rd. They do not want qualifiers for the next round of European competition to get too far off, which is frustrating but they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. If we start games back the first of July, then you could play the remaining La Liga games on a one game a week basis in July (allowing UEFA competition to resolve) and then two games a week in August for three weeks. Then stop every except the playoffs needed to qualify for the Euros until October. The 2020-2021 season starts October 1st and that puts us about 7 match weeks behind normal schedule. With the field for the Euros set, eliminate all the international friendly breaks during the course of the club season and use the extra weeks to make up the 7 extra games you have and have season end in mid May like it always does, with the Euros in June.

Eliminate all the international breaks that aren’t needed for WCQ in 2021-2022, use the extra time to start 2022-2023 early, then you have the World Cup in winter of 2022 and we roll back into a normal schedule 2023-2024. Things are gonna be weird for a while, but basically I’m suggesting take the pain of rescheduling and spread it out over years instead of trying to force it all into a condensed time frame.

So, what do you think?

How would you conclude the season schedule?