QPR boss Warburton insists season must be completed

QPR manager Mark Warburton

QPR manager Mark Warburton has insisted that the football season must be completed – even if it means the structure of the following season is radically altered.

English football matches have been suspended until 30 April because of the coronavirus epidemic.

However, it is widely expected that games will not resume on that date or in the near future.

There have been suggestions that the season could even be cancelled.

But Warburton says that must not happen – even if major changes are made in order for the season to be completed.

“I get really frustrated,” he told the Press Association.

“You can’t have this global pandemic and expect nothing to change.

“You have to feel change somewhere. We need to finish this season and I can’t believe in some places what I am reading (about cancelling the season).

“For the integrity of the game, for the fans, they need this season to finish – so we do that.”

Truncated 2020-21 season?

The season being completed in the autumn or even later would then create another issue: how to complete the 2020-21 campaign before next year’s European Championships, which have been put back a year because of the coronavirus crisis.

Warburton believes the football authorities need to be creative in order to come up with solutions.

“If that means we finish everything by November 1, we say the new season would start December 1,” he said.

QPR manager Mark Warburton
Warburton’s QPR side are six points from the Championship play-off places

“There is a four-week transfer window, we deal with it. Then we have got from December 1 to say, through to May 21, we have got to put our season into there.

“What do we do? A one-season different format? Do you have a knockout type where the top-half go into play-offs? A different format for one season to recognise the fact we have faced an unprecedented social event?

“We are going to have some pain, people might not like it, but we just have to finish this season.

“We can’t have 80 percent of the season done and write it off, when I saw some of the comments I just found them to be ludicrous, I really did.”

‘Uncharted territory’

Above all, Warburton says, football clubs need a realistic possible re-starting date for this season.

He said: “Football is one tiny, micro part of what is going on in the world but when they have some clarity of the resumption of the league programme then we can all work towards that day.

“If they say September 1, for example, I think if we know that is the start date then August 1 the players return. It is a way away but would respect the health situation and, God willing, gives time for all this to peak and pass.

“It gives fans, players, staff to work towards and that is what we need right now – it is the uncertainty causing the anxiety in most people at the moment.

“There are some very, very smart minds on these big committees but if I am in charge of one of those committees right now we are agreeing a date.

“We agree that football will resume, use that date September 1 again, so four weeks earlier all clubs agree to bring their players back and have a level playing field.

“At least that is in the diary, all contracts are extended. The league season can’t be finished over 11 weeks – it could be eight games in three weeks, if that is what it is don’t complain about it, it would be the same for everybody.

“If there is a dramatic improvement health-wise, the clarity would still be there. Follow the same process and it goes from September 1 to August 1, no issues.

“We have got to be flexible because we are facing uncharted territory and the more uncertainty we have – meeting and saying April 30, meet again and say May 15, then June 1 – it just delays the inevitable, makes the wait all the more tedious, the uncertainty greater and increases the anxiety for so many people.”