English football set to face reckoning as clubs seriously contemplate possibility of an incomplete season as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc with FA set to make £20m loss
Football faces another extraordinary week of unprecedented interventions and rescheduling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A UEFA conference call on Tuesday is expected to confirm the postponement of Euro 2020, while Premier League clubs are ready to discuss the process for ending the season now.
The financial implications of postponements and cancellations will be huge, with the FA alone facing a £20million loss. The governing body did not have epidemic insurance cover for Euro 2020, which is due to run from June 12 until July 12.
English football is set to face its reckoning amid the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus
UEFA are expected to announce on Tuesday that this summer’s Euros are postponed
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is convening a conference call of European football stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss whether domestic leagues, the Champions League and Europa League can be completed.
It would seem that is only possible if Euro 2020, which is a pan-European competition with venues from Dublin to Baku, is postponed and the Champions League and Europa League are dramatically curtailed and shoehorned into a week of matches in the summer, assuming the pandemic has passed its worst stage by then.
A number of Premier League clubs contacted by The Mail on Sunday are seriously contemplating the fact that this season will never be completed and discussing how relegation and Champions League places should be settled. A resumption of the FA Cup is also in doubt.
Some Premier League clubs are contemplating the thought of an incomplete season
Paul Barber, Brighton chief executive, addressed the issue of halting the League now after 29 games.
‘It would be unjust for teams to be relegated when there are eight, nine, 10 games to play in the Premier League and the financial consequences of that for those teams is very difficult,’ he told the BBC. ‘It would be equally unjust for Leeds and West Brom not to be promoted [from the Championship].’
Asked about the possibility of scrapping relegation this season if the campaign is voided and playing with 22 teams in the Premier League next season, Barber said: ‘I think that’s a possible option … to bring the top teams up from the Championship … [with] perhaps four relegation places next season and two up again to get the League back to 20 again for the following season.’
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said it is unlikely that football will resume after April 3
Barber said he hopes his Brighton team can still still play out the remainder of their season
Such a suggestion would need English Football League approval.
There was a backlash against a suggestion from Karren Brady, vice-chairman of relegation-threatened West Ham, that the season should be declared void.
Barber said: ‘If we were to freeze the League, for me it would be incredibly unjust for Liverpool not to be awarded the title.’
The Premier League insist there is no support for making the season void and that the issue was not raised at their emergency meeting on Friday. Their stance is that they should attempt to resume the season, though few expect a restart on April 4, which is the official position at present.
The Carabao Cup may also fall by the wayside in a huge reshuffle planned for next season
The only prospect of finishing the season would be if Euro 2020 were put back a year, though playing games through the summer is likely to cause delays next season and threaten the Carabao Cup and FA Cup replays in 2020-21.
It would also bring end-of-season financial pain to the FA, who are not covered for any cancellations caused by coronavirus, leaving them with liabilities of about £3m per game. Seven Euros matches, including both semi-finals and the final, were to be played at Wembley, plus England would not make any prize money from this summer’s event.