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The Return of Football – The Center Circle

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Leagues that make their way back

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Finally! Football is about to resume after a long hiatus and we are here to keep you updated on all the leagues starting up again and everything you might need to know to get used to the new normal in world football. La Liga has just started back and Italy and England are not far behind. So let’s get caught up in some football!

What does the new normal look like?

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The excitement of returning to some of the biggest football leagues in the world is palpable. But with the new normal we face, a return to the game looks very different under these unusual circumstances. The first and biggest change is the lack of fans. Since it is almost impossible to let fans return to stadiums while observing social distance, it seems that the air has been sucked out of the ground. An interesting positive, however, is that you can hear everyone on the court, and I’m sure the players are happy with the extra light communication. There are a few interesting ways that some clubs have had to deal with this new position they have found themselves in. Fortunately, the German Bundesliga has tested ideas on how to get fans more involved and how to make players feel more comfortable playing in front of very limited spectators. Borussia Mönchengladbach has given fans the opportunity to submit photos and reserve their normal place for a life-size cardboard cut of themselves. Other teams from smaller leagues have even gone to extremes by having live interactions from fans via video chat. It will definitely be interesting to see how clubs continue to interact with fans the rest of this season.

English Premier League – June 17

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The Premier League returns on June 17 after playing some unofficial friendly matches to get back to match fitness. Even with Liverpool anything but wrapping up the title before the obligatory break, the main focus of the excitement in England is the race for a place in Europe and the race for Premier League survival for the bottom teams. There is only an 8 point difference in the table between 15th place and bottom. However, how should clubs in the Premier League do without fans? They are actually considering playing sounds from EA Sports FIFA to fill the void for fan noise (talk about Ea Sports being “In the game”). One last exciting thing to look forward to is how the clubs will interact with supporters and how it will affect the game going forward.

Spanish La Liga – June 11

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La Liga started back on June 11, and like the Premier League, the new interesting ways are trying to get the most out of the new normal football. Like the EPL, La Liga will use EA Sports FIFA crowd noise in their stadiums. La Liga is one of the tighter title races in Europe at the moment with 2 points separating the league leaders, Barcelona and second place Real Madrid. Real Madrid will also have a hard time not being able to play at the Santiago Bernabeu as it is being rebuilt at the moment (a benefit for those from this pandemic as it may be completed before the planned date of 2022). Matches for Real Madrid will be played at their reserve team stadium, which has only 8,000 supporters, but it should have little significance without fans.

Italian Serie A – June 20

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Serie A will be one of the last leagues to be resumed in Europe, even though they resume Coppa Italia on the 13th. Although Italy was one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus, it starts back on June 20th. This should be a dramatic end to the season with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus just one point above the table. All signs point to a rejuvenated Ronaldo & co. after taking advantage of the mandatory break of the season.

Which league are you most excited to look back on? Let us know!

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