The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in several sporting events and leagues being halted or postponed. This means that the NHL, NBA, and the Premier League have all stopped and will return at some point. For John Oliver, the host of Last Week Tonight, this stoppage came at the worst possible time considering that Liverpool FC was in the midst of a winning season.
Oliver provided his thoughts on the matter during a recent discussion with Stephen Colbert. He clarified that the league hasn't been fully canceled and that it might be returning in the coming months. His hope is that Liverpool FC can resume their season in June. Although that is currently up in the air due to the ongoing outbreak and stay at home orders.
"They [Liverpool] were at the top of the league, and they were about to win their first league title in 30 years," Oliver said. The host also explained that he is currently considering Liverpool FC to be the champions while the season is paused. He compared the situation to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back by saying: "their championship has been frozen like Han Solo with a cup above their heads."
There is a chance that the season could resume in June, but the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus has made that less likely. According to Liverpool.com, there is a realistic scenario in which the Premier League's clubs vote to void this season and simply declare Liverpool FC to be the champions. If so, Oliver could celebrate the victory, but there would be concerns about this feeling hollow due to the championship simply being awarded via a vote.
Oliver certainly hopes to see Liverpool FC named the champions of the 2019-20 season, but he was among the minority over the weekend. Many users on social media actually hoped that the Club would not be awarded the cup due to them furloughing all non-playing employees and announcing that they would be seeking financial assistance from the United Kingdom government. This would have required the club to pay 20 percent of their staff wages while the government accounted for the other 80.0comments
This decision was met with considerable criticism from fans and those that root for other teams. They felt that the billionaire American owners, the Fenway Sports Group, could easily afford to pay these wages without asking for assistance. FSG has since backtracked following the outcry and announced that they would no longer be seeking financial assistance.
"We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that," Liverpool FC chief executive Peter Moore said. "Our intentions were, and still are, to ensure the entire workforce is given as much protection as possible from redundancy and/or loss of earnings during this unprecedented period. We are therefore committed to finding alternative ways to operate while there are no football matches being played that ensures we are not applying for the government relief scheme."