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Premier League Meeting Today
Thursday, 19th Mar 2020 09:08

Saints are today taking part in a unique Premier League meeting today, both in terms of the discussions to take place regarding the League season itself and the fact that it will not be face to face but a video conferencing call.

Saints will be represented today by chief executive Martin Semmens and managing director Toby Steele with some important items up for discussion.

The season of course is suspended until April 3rd, but it is very unlikely it will be able to return then and indeed it is still up in the air when it will actually be able to resume.

I brought up some of the options on the day that the suspension will be announced and they include.

1. A resumption of the season in May/June with the final 9 games being played then, either with supporters attending or behind closed doors.

2. The season being completely erased from the record books with next season starting from scratch with the same teams as this.

3. The season being declared over with its current table being declared the final one, Liverpool Champions and bottom 3 being relegated

4. The season being declared over with Liverpool Champions but no relegation.

Aside from option 1 all have potential legal issues and there is also the issue with contracts ending on July 1st but if we are all honest it would be cruel on Liverpool not to be declared Champions given that they are on target for a record breaking season for the Premier League.

The Premier League itself are believed to be committed to trying to complete the season and this option was boosted by the cancellation of the Euros, they were due to finish on July 12th and would have disrupted most clubs pre season plans anyway, so roughly a six week window between the start of June up to July 12 would not only enable those 9 games to be played, but would not disrupt preparations for the 2020/21 season much more than the Euros would have and as every team would be in the same boat would be fair.

The decision will ultimately be decided by the clubs, West Ham's Karen Brady has already said she thinks that the season should be erased from the record books, but she would say that as West Ham are in real danger of relegation and this perhaps highlights how much tactical voting could be at play.

From a Saints perspective most would be happy with that option 2, the chances are that we won't be relegated but now will we push into a potential Europa League spot either, for us it would be the safest no risk option.

This could be a problem if all clubs act like Karen Brady and think only of themselves, whatever decision is reached needs a 14 club majority, presumably Liverpool will not be happy with the season being erased, but all other clubs might well be. especially those in the bottom 3.

But the main issue is the legal one, if the season is not completed then Sky TV will be entitled to a refund on their contract and this will be a big impact on the clubs, also the EFL clubs will launch a legal challenge if they are denied the opportunity of promotion.

All a all every option has its issues, but pursuing Option 1 in the first instance seems to be the most logical, not only does it settle things in a fair way, but it also means that the member clubs incomes are not affected any further and that there will be no legal issues.

The main issue with this though is the uncertainty of just how long the virus will be critical and any forthcoming emergency measures that are in place as well as whether any more players and clubs will be hit by the virus.

Saints and most other clubs are now taking drastic measures with players training at home at the moment rather than meeting up at Staplewood, this is to try and keep the club virus free.

But with all the issues considered pragmatically, this will probably lead the clubs to vote to try and finish the season as after all money is now the name of the game and this is the only option that will not only keep it coming in, but stop it going out in legal challenges.

Photo: Action Images



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PatfromPoole added 09:49 - Mar 19
As I said yesterday, expect the Prem season to be played out at neutral venues behind closed doors over a fairly short period, all live on SKY / BT.
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TallSaint added 09:50 - Mar 19
Option 1 will probably require abandonment of the FA Cup. I feel fine about this and would feel the same even if we were still in the competition.
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highfield49 added 10:35 - Mar 19
Option one is the obvious solution in the short term but relies on clubs putting out full strength teams for all of the remaining matches. If West Ham, for example, end up playing Burnley's u23 team then it makes the decision to complete the fixtures a cosmetic exercise.
On the subject of promotion from the Championship, how are those league positions going to be decided? I suspect that several teams rely hugely on gate receipts to fund their existence and I'd be unhappy if the likes of Leeds were given automatic promotion on the basis of current league table.
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SaintNick added 12:21 - Mar 19
I would not be surprised to see the season played out behind closed doors, but I am not sure it will be on Sky/BT, the Government may be concerned about large gatherings and a packed pub may offer a health threat.

Certainly the first things have heard are about it only being available via club websites to supporters with log ins etc, so you would need to be a season ticket holder or member etc
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the_saint added 13:59 - Mar 19
How about all football clubs releasing all there club doctors and any medical staff to help fight this virus more important than sodden football
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