The Mirror: April 24, 2020 – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to leave the Premier League in a suspended state, UEFA made clear on Thursday their desire to finish the current campaign in one way or another.
A statement from European football’s governing body effectively took away any chance of the 2019-20 season being registered “null and void”.
UEFA stated that it still hopes to finish seasons across the continent, with all matches being played before the end of August being the “ideal situation”.
If that is not possible, then UEFA are also open to a shortened campaign or potential play-offs to decide who enters European competitions in 2020-21.
They are happy to leave it up to leagues to decide who goes through into the Champions League and Europa League as long as it is done on “sporting merit” and there is not a “public perception of unfairness.”
The Premier League stress they are committed to completing the season but also know that time constraints are working against them.
They are running out of time to get the remaining fixtures that teams have left finished – especially amid Government advice on social distancing and testing.
If they are unable to do so, then their options stand at potential play-offs or a points-per-game system.
Mirror Sport understands that adopting a points-per-game system, is the league and its clubs preferred method at this time.
Should it be necessary, to end the season in such a manner the Premier League would need 14 of its 20 clubs to agree.
Sixteen (16) clubs have nine games remaining, with Arsenal, Manchester City, Sheffield United and Aston Villa having 10 left to play.
Here’s what the table would look like, should the season be ended, with points-per-game being adopted:
As such Liverpool would be champions with the greatest ppg ratio in English football history, while Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea would join them in the Champions League – providing City are successful in their appeal against a ban from European football.
Manchester United and Sheffield United would take spots in the Europa League group stage, with Wolves – dependant on the situation with the FA Cup – potentially heading into the competition’s second qualifying round.
Arsenal would overtake Tottenham in the table and finish above their rivals for the first time in four years, but neither North London club would be able to bank on European football next term – unless City’s Euro ban stands.
The situation at the other end of the table would be a major issue for the Premier League to solve however.
Norwich City would face relegation as the bottom side. Aston Villa and Bournemouth, in theory, would join them.
But Villa have played a game less and could potentially put up a legal fight.
Bournemouth too would have grounds to be unhappy given their ppg would be exactly that of Watford and West Ham; they could also argue having an easier run-in than either of those two clubs.
It is unlikely that either club’s owners would vote in favour of the ppg system, but they would need five more clubs to agree to block any outcome.