Football's return needs urgency and positivity from the top - but it's not getting any

We are now in mid-July, when Crawley Town would normally be playing pre-season friendlies. Some have been agreed with local non league clubs but no dates have been settled so far.

Columnist Geoff Thornton says the performance of the football authorities has been poor in planning the game's return
Columnist Geoff Thornton says the performance of the football authorities has been poor in planning the game's return

The reason there are no dates for pre season games is that there has been no decision yet as to when the 2020-21 season can commence. I have also mentioned before that such administrative matters do move exceedingly slowly.

That is not the case in Scotland where the Scottish government has agreed to the Premiership restarting on 1st August, just a couple of weeks later than usual. It is also the date the English domestic season is due to end with the FA Cup final.

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Of course no Scottish clubs are involved in the later stages of the European competitions which are scheduled to take place during August. The Champions League final which should be the climax of the drawn out 2019/2020 season is set for 23 August.

From that point the top clubs will be expecting a pre-season break although, personally, I can’t see why it should be considered necessary and the FA are insisting that the new season starts with the Community Shield match on 9 August which would leave no gap whatsoever. That piece of blinkered logic means it is uncertain which team will available to face Liverpool.

In line with the plethora of government guidance and regulation during the pandemic there is a marked shortage of clarity. There is no news either on the fate of Macclesfield Town but some progress with regard as to which National League clubs might gain a place in the EFL.

The play-offs have been reinstated but at this stage there remains uncertainty as to which clubs will fill the final two spaces.

The coronavirus crisis might well merit its “unprecedented” tag but the performance of politicians and administrators overall has been very disappointing.

The suspension of team sports, more appropriately spectator sports, may well have been necessary but the reactions that followed, which should lead to a return to normality, have been poor. Urgency and positivity are not in their collective vocabulary.

The long-running saga continues although Crawley Town would appear to be holding on to their planned course. General manager Tom Allman’s recent interview confirmed that but generally the club remains tight-lipped and my comments have not led to any greater efforts to keep the fans involved.

Many people in the recreational leisure and hospitality communities have expressed concern that their businesses will never return to their form levels of participation. I hope that outcome does not affect the Reds as our fanbase is slim enough already.