Football is finally back, and not a moment too soon, because the charm of putting on a match on FIFA without selecting sides and watching the AI go at it was wearing thin, if only because the commentary gets fairly repetitive. You can tune it to watch the German Bundesliga starting Saturday, May 16, and if you’re looking out for any particular game to watch, Borussia Dortmund, 2nd in the table and boasting messrs Haaland and Sancho take on 6th-placed Schalke in what should be a cracker.

But the Bundesliga stands alone in its bold initiative, with other leagues already taking the drastic measure of calling the entire season off. The Belgium Pro League was the first to go, calling off their season and declaring Club Brugge, the team leading by 15 points, champions in what was a decision so difficult, that it took a month to ratify. In Holland, where the two top sides Ajax and AZ were separated only by goal difference, the league was cancelled but there was no champion.

The French League followed suit, deciding the league standings on a point per game basis and declaring PSG champions in the process. But already the decision has been met with derision, as Lyon, a perennial Champions League participant, who sit 7th but within reach of a Champions League spot, have threatened to sue given the massive financial implications of not participating in Europe’s elite competition next season.

And that is the reality of the discussion surrounding resumption of football elsewhere, for whilst player safety appears of paramount importance on the surface, finances appear to be the driving factor behind calls for leagues to restart. The English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A are all heavily televised worldwide and tv money has already been paid up for the season. In the Premier League, broadcasting income alone for the league and its members, amounts to close to £1billion and with a quarter of the season to play with no gate receipts, having to return much of that amount will be a huge hit for the involved teams to take, which explains why calls for resumption are unanimous.

And it is not just the finances, but also the fact that so much is up for grabs in each of these leagues in terms of league positions. In Spain, at the top, giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are separated by only 2 points whilst in Italy, darling underdogs Lazio trail Juventus by only 1 point. Champions League places and promotion and relegation spots are similarly well contested.

Even in England, whilst Liverpool will definitely not let this one slip, the race for European spots and relegation is wide open, whereas Leeds United do not wish to be denied their fabled return to the English top flight. Not to mention that even though I top my fantasy mini league by some distance, my dear friends below me are just not willing to accept me as champion.

Therefore, return dates have been set with June 12 and 13 expected to be options for each of these leagues to resume, with the presumption that matches might have to be played on almost a daily basis to be able to conclude the league in a reasonable enough time frame so as to not impact the following season. And of course, multiple testing protocols and increased safety measures are a prerequisite for all teams that play, even if it is behind closed doors.

But even if football does resume, do not expect it to be the same as you left it. The biggest shock for you when you finally tune in after what seems like eons, will be the absence of fans and the atmosphere they generate. The Juventus versus Inter game played out behind closed doors just before the lockdown was bizarre, with players clearly audible and goals met with chilling silence. It is just not how the game should be played and the players and commentators involved were all more than keen to point this out.

Moreover, with players tasked with keeping fit on their own and games to be played with harrowing frequency, expect lower fitness levels and resultantly, a lower intensity in games as well. This naturally also means players risk injuries and a lot of clubs might lose some key players, especially if matches are played on a day-to-day basis.

And if football was unpredictable before, expect absolute pandemonium in terms of results, with the home stadium factor largely neutralised, fitness overtaking skill, lots of injuries and matches being played with little time for preparation and tactical innovations. That in itself is as good a reason as any to tune in, assuming you needed any motivation in the first place.

There is obviously nothing more important than the safety of the players and staff and perhaps the safest thing to do would be to call off football until the pandemic is under control, but for a moment I want to forget all that. On Saturday, I will get to dust up the old HD box, put on my favourite sports channel and watch back-to-back football action. There will not be any black and yellow wall in the aforementioned Dortmund-Schalke match, but there will be 22 guys running around a patch of green grass trying to kick a ball into a crudely shaped net. Oh, the bliss. Simple things can be so beautiful sometimes.