Now the FA have come down on our side
Monday, 11th May 2020 21:45 by Tim Whelan
With the Premier League disagreeing among themselves about how to conclude the 2019/20 season, the FA have been forced to step in and have told them that scrapping relegation is not an option.
Last week the bottom six of the Premier League had said that they would only play the remaining games at neutral venues if the threat of relegation was ‘taken off the table’. But that idea had run into opposition from the leading clubs, who insisted that relegation shout take place, and also from the broadcasters, who would find that a lot of the remaining games would be less attractive to them if there was nothing at stake.
So it looked like today’s on-line meeting was going to be a fractious affair, prompting the FA to intervene. Their governing body had already come to a unanimous agreement on the decision to block the idea of no relegation, and right at the start of the meeting the FA chairman Greg Clarke told them the season must be decided on sporting merit.
That means that relegation, top four and the title must be settled by either playing the remaining fixtures, or using a mathematical formula based on games played, such as with a weighted points-per-game method. The Premier League have discussed the possibility of curtailing the season, but they are still aiming to complete the fixture list if at all possible.
The latest government guidelines say that sporting events could take place from June 1 as long as they take place behind closed doors, though this will involve training having to start by the start of next at the latest. A couple of obstacles remain, such as the number of players who will be out of contract on June 30th, and the possibility of more players catching the dreaded C-19 along with the Brighton three.
On the post-meeting video press conference today’s meeting, Premier League chief executive said there would be meetings with players and club staff this week to discuss their concerns about safety “No decisions will be made until after we have talked to players and managers and those meetings are scheduled for later this week.”
As far as the EFL are concerned, chairman Rick Parry told a Commons Select Committee last week that he expects that relegation from the Premier League and promotion for Championship clubs will still take place, as there will be ‘a legal 'mess' if it doesn’t. Our very own Andrea Radrizzani has already suggested that he would take the football authorities to court if the season was finished with Leeds denied the chance to earn promotion.
And of course we will be in a great position to seal promotion as long as relegation from the Premier League can either be agreed or imposed, whether our own matches are completed or not. If the league table finishes as it is we will be promoted by any possible mathematical model. And if the games are played we surely won’t blow a seven point lead over third place, with more favourable fixtures to play than our rivals.
There is an awful lot riding on the discussions that are still to take place in the coming weeks, but fingers crossed it looks like we’re going to be where we want to be at the start of next season.
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