• Justin Wasik

Option 3 - Declaring the Season Null and Void

If neither Option 1 or Option 2 work out, the 2019-2020 season should then be declared null and void. What happens then? Here are the questions that need to be answered:

Promotion and Relegation:

First, we need to make the assumption the EFL is also declared null and void too. I doubt there would be a situation where one league finished the season while the other one did not.

Given that, you simply cannot relegate and promote teams from and into the Premier League, especially given one team in the current bottom 3 (Aston Villa) has a game in hand. There would be lawsuits galore against the PL, as is already being seen in France after SC Amiens were relegated 4 points from safety with 10 matches to play.

European Qualification:

This is the one situation where a concrete decision must be made. The Premier League is going to have to send teams to European competitions next season. Let’s examine the current situations for European qualification spots in the table:

Champions League

  • Assuming Manchester City’s ban is upheld, the current “top 4” would be Liverpool, Leicester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United, with Sheffield United two points behind Manchester United with a game in hand.

Europa League

  • Wolves, Sheffield United and Spurs make up the traditional Europa League spots, with Arsenal one point behind Spurs with a game in hand.

Below are the options in deciding who goes to Europe and in which competition:

European Option 1:

  • Give qualification based on current table positioning.

  • This option would be harsh to teams like Sheffield United and Arsenal as they have less points but games in hand.

European Option 2:

  • Give qualification based on finishes from the last completed season (‘18-’19).

  • This would be worse than Option 1 in my opinion. Seeing Arsenal in the Champions League next season because they finished 5th two years ago seems wrong.

European Option 3:

  • Have a tie between Manchester United and Sheffield United to determine the last Champions League spot.

  • Have a tie between Spurs and Arsenal for the last Europa League spot.

  • This option would decide qualification on the pitch. However, if the season is declared null and void, there is a good chance it will not be feasible to play a two-legged tie, due to the timing and/or pandemic.

  • Furthermore, due to my arguments in Option 1, these ties would need to be played before June 30, assuming contract end dates remain as is.

European Option 4:

  • Use a Points per Match system to determine final places.

  • Ligue 1 used this system to determine who won the title, who went to Europe and who got relegated. While I don’t propose the PL uses this system to relegate, it could be a way to determine who makes Europe while accounting for games in hand.

  • With this system, Manchester United would get the final Champions League spot

  • Arsenal would surpass Spurs for the last Europa League spot.

Out of all the above European options, I like option 3 the best. However, if it is not feasible to play those matches before June 30, Option 4 is the fairest option.

Premier League Champions?

The final question to ask is does Liverpool get crowned 2020 Premier League Champions? If you take a Points Per Match strategy, Liverpool obviously wins the title. If you don’t the debate certainly rages on.

I am not worried about setting the precedent of handing over a title to a team that technically did not win it. There should be rules set in place for potential disruptions to a PL season in the future.

However, even if the title is handed to Liverpool, it surely will not be won the way Liverpool fans always imagined. I could even see the possibility of some Liverpool fans not wanting the title at all, instead earning it on the pitch.

Final verdict: It really doesn’t matter to me. Liverpool were the best team in England by far. I don’t think anyone in their right mind believes they do not deserve it. Do they want it? Most fans probably do, but it will be won in a bittersweet manner.

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