In this article, we predict the stance of the 20 clubs and who will be playing a key role in the final outcome. Of course once the meeting is over and we get the outcomes, we will follow up on all the points discussed below.
Let’s start with problem first..
Coronavirus (Covid-19) is spreading fast. More than 204,200 people are known to be infected and over 8,200 deaths have been recorded – including 104 people in the UK who were diagnosed with the virus. While the outbreak started in China, the bulk of cases and fatalities are now outside the country and the virus is spreading internationally including United Kingdom. The English Football Association (FA) announced the decision to postpone all professional men and women’s football in the country until at least April 3 after a number of Premier League clubs, players and managers were impacted by COVID-19.
With UEFA clearly announcing that priority should be given to completing domestic competitions in an unprecedented solidarity move, all eyes are back on FA and it’s 20 shareholders ( 20 clubs currently in the middle of 2019-2020 season ) to decide what should be done now.
What are the open issues , factors and contentious issues that will come up amongst the 20 shareholders ?
If the season is not completed what happens about promotion and relegation ?
If the season is considered NULL/VOID, who will be relegated or/and promoted from championship ?
What will be the criteria used to decide promotion, relegation, champions league qualification, title and Europa League places ?
Will Liverpool win the Premier League title no matter what ?
What about payments given to clubs depending on league position – what will they get?
Will there be any financial assistance to lower league clubs who will have no income for the next month?
What happens to tickets for fans, especially season tickets – will people get a refund?
If coronavirus lasts for the next six months, does that mean no football will be played in that period
What happens about player contracts if the season is not finished by 30 June – as well as other extra fees such as for appearances and goals?
If the league is played behind closed doors, how will players, managers and clubs deal with the new environment. Will it be fair to the clubs with amount of rest, quarantine, physical and mental drain that Coronavirus is having on people. Aren’t the people involved human beings first ?
Could next season be delayed – and if so, to when?
What will happen to TV deals?
What are the possible contract breaches – sponsors , TV Deals, player contracts and how will those be handled ?
What are the possible outcomes ?
There are multiple possible outcomes and there is nothing certain about which one will be discussed or all together a new outcome may come up. However, what is sure about any outcome that gets finalized is that it will be murky, confusing, lead to many litigations and a certain loss for all entities involved including premier league fans, clubs, sponsors, stadium, players, managers, advertisers, media …. you name it and they will be saying we are at a loss
However, we can simplify some outcomes that we think may happen as below
Refer back to the world war 2 scenario and consider the current season NULL and VOID
Finish the current season under very controlled closed door, strict and regimented protocols for players, managers and clubs.
Let the current positions stand but do not relegate any club , promote championship clubs based on current standing.
Let the current positions stand and relegate / promote based on the current standings.
Now as we discussed above, outcomes are not easy and additional strings may be attached on each outcome e.g.
Cooling off period for 1 year where no champions league / European competition takes place so premier league environment can be normalized
Compensate clubs for their financial losses, pay them parity instead of usual position /competition progress based manner and ensure they survive to play another season when situation normalizes.
Work with government, courts and stakeholders especially sponsors to ensure none of the contract breaches lead to lawsuits and contracts are carefully reworked
What are the positions that shareholders are likely to take ?
|Club||1 – NULL & VOID||2 – EXISTING POSITION||4 – EXISTING BUT RELEGATE NONE|
|AFC Bournemouth||Highly Likely to avoid relegation||Not possible at all||Not possible at all|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||Anything is fine||Highly Likely|
|Liverpool||Not possible at all||Highly Likely as top spot||Highly Likely as top spot|
|Aston Villa||Highly Likely to avoid relegation||Not possible at all||Not possible at all|
|Arsenal||This will get them to 5th spot and possibly champions league||Not possible at all||Not possible at all|
|Leicester City||Not possible at all||Highly Likely as champions league spot||Highly Likely as champions league spot|
|Norwich City||Highly Likely to avoid relegation||Not possible at all||Not possible at all|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Highly Likely as champions league spot||Not possible at all||Not possible at all|
|Manchester United||Not possible at all||Highly Likely as champions league spot||Highly Likely as champions league spot|
|West Ham United||Highly Likely||Anything is fine|
|Burnley||Anything is fine|
|Chelsea||Anything is fine|
|Crystal Palace||Anything is fine|
|Everton||Anything is fine|
|Manchester City||Anything is fine|
|Southampton||Anything is fine|
|Newcastle United||Anything is fine|
|Watford||Anything is fine|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||Anything is fine|
|Sheffield United||Anything is fine|
While a complete outcome is not anticipated in the meeting, a guidance from FA and stance of various clubs ( shareholders) is expected by all the stakeholders who have been dealing with anxiety since the outbreak and suspension announcement last week.
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