Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the English Football League has decided to suspend any and all football activities – including the Premier League.
With this, the Premier League has turned its attention to finding solutions to ending the current season. The English Football Association (EFA) decided to suspend all professional men and women’s football until April 3. The decision came after a meeting was held last Friday where it was announced that some clubs, players, and managers were heavily affected by the virus.
There are three possible choices to make: finish the season once the shutdown ends (even if the current season extends well past the schedule), follow the current schedule and end the season in May (giving out all necessary awards and trophies, and promoting and relegating clubs based on their current standing), or declare the entire season null and void. If current meetings are the basis on what the possible decision may be, then it’s not any clearer.
On one hand, there are people like Karren Brady, West Ham United’s vice-chair, that believe the current season should be cancelled. Then there are people like Paul Barber, Brighton and Hove Albion’s chief executive, who believes that a decision like that will be unjust for other clubs especially Liverpool. ‘There is no dodging the possibility that all levels in the English Football League (EFL), as well as the Premier League, will have to be cancelled and this season declared null and void because if the players can’t play the games can’t go ahead’, said Brady.
‘The Premier League hopes that an interlude of three weeks from now will enable it to restart but that may well be dreamland’, she continued. ‘Perhaps scrubbing Euro 2020 could provide more time to complete the season into the summer but that is also a giant “if.” What if the league cannot be finished? As games in both the Premier League and in the EFL are affected, the only fair and reasonable thing to do is declare the whole season null and void. Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?’.
Barber rebutted, saying that although every club would want to finish their 38-game season, it’s near impossible to see that the Premier League will be up and running in about three weeks. ‘If we were to freeze the league it would be incredibly unjust for Liverpool to not be awarded the title, because everybody in the game appreciates what a fantastic season they have had’, he said. ‘Equally it would be unjust for teams to be relegated with nine or 10 games to go in the Premier League. I think it’s a possible option to leave the 20 teams in the league as it is but bring the top two in the Championship up. It gives us a larger league, with four relegation places next season. If we can’t complete the season we have to look at radical solutions’.