So how does this season end?
The unprecedented impact caused by Covid-19 and the measures being put in place to quell the rise in the numbers inflicted with it mean this current campaign is in limbo.
At this current moment, the Premier League – all professional leagues in England – are on hold until 03 April. Is this expected to be extended? That is correct. With the peak of the virus expected to coincide with the summer, things will get worse before they get better and things won’t have improved enough to allow mass gatherings next month.
So, what are the options to reach a satisfactory culmination in the campaign?
The options in place in the League rulebook are either:
- Delay the rest of the season until viable. (The problem with that is – when will that be?)
- Award the title to Liverpool and leave the rest as it lay. (The problem with this – there will be umpteen appeals as numerous teams can avoid relegation and achieve Europe)
- Scratch the season. Null and void and start again next season. (The problem with this? See above)
We are literally playing things by ear as the virus develops. There are nine games to go for most teams – Arsenal and Man City have a fixture to play which will take us to 29 games played – not to mention the FA Cup and European campaigns.
The financial implications alone from TV rights and league placings will mean that this will never truly be settled, no matter which choice the clubs and organising body chooses. Legal battles will no doubt ensue and this isn’t just consigned to the Premier League, it is across Europe.
Arsenal currently stand in ninth spot and are within eight points of the top four and not beyond a push for the Champions League. For Norwich, Watford, Bournemouth and more, these clubs are all well within their rights to say they would avoid relegation – and the possible £100m shortfall that comes to all relegated teams.
This will rumble on, but keep it posted here for the latest developments.