Even if it upsets Liverpool fans the Premier League trophy shouldn't be handed out if the season isn't completed

Even if it upsets Liverpool fans the Premier League trophy shouldn't be handed out if the season isn't completed
FLASHBACK: Roy Keane celebrates with United team-mates after Ryan Giggs scored Manchester United's second goal against Leeds United in April 1994, to close in on the Premier League title. Will there be a winner this season though? Picture: Malcolm Croft/PA Wire.

THE final Premier League standings cannot be decided on how the table is at this time or on a points-per-game system.

If it is deemed that the league season cannot be concluded then the Premier League should be ‘null and void’ and not be settled by UEFA’s “sporting merit” suggestion.

Of course, this would be extremely harsh on runaway leaders Liverpool, who would be the team that would suffer the most but it would be even tougher on the teams that were relegated, with still nine games to play and in Aston Villa’s case 10 games, were the league to be decided on merit.

The financial implications and the impact relegation would have on the relegated teams would change the future of those clubs. Workers at the club would have to be let go because of financial hit clubs would take and also, the Championship is a very difficult league to get out of and who knows whether those clubs would ever return to the top-tier of English football again.

Norwich, Villa and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation zone and all three would be relegated if a points-per-game system were to decide the outcome of the league. Bournemouth would actually be relegated on goal difference. Teams don’t deserve to be punished for something that is out of their control.

There are so many games left in the season that who knows what could happen. Not only is it about where a club finishes this season but also, what they could achieve next season.

In 2015, Leicester City created one of the greatest ever sporting upsets by winning the Premier League. However, 12 months earlier, the Foxes narrowly escaped relegation by winning seven of their last nine remaining games. Leicester looked doomed and destined for life in the Championship but managed to turn things around in those nine remaining fixtures.

Had a similar virus being around in 2014 and the Premier League decided to end the season based on merit with nine games to go, then Leicester would have been relegated and we would have never witnessed Wes Morgan lifting the Premier League trophy because the Foxes would have been playing in the Championship the following season.

I don’t see either Bournemouth, Villa or Norwich avoiding relegation this season and winning the Premier League next season but it’s not impossible to think that any of those clubs could avoid relegation and qualify for Europe next year instead of trying to get promoted form the Championship.

Each club’s remaining fixture list has to be taken into consideration as well when thinking of a points-per- game system to decide the final standings. Some clubs in the relegation fight have much tougher remaining fixtures than others but have more points at this time. It’s not fair on a team who will be judged having played Manchester City and Liverpool twice whereas another team in the relegation zone still has a lot of the top teams to play in their remaining matches.

Clubs would have anticipated that they would have been in a relegation battle at the beginning of the season and would have rested players throughout the season in order for those players to be fresher towards the end of the campaign. They would have designed a programme not for 29 league games but for 38 games. No club in the world could have planned for what has happened recently.

If the season were to be null and void then the real question would be what clubs deserve to play in Europe next season? My answer would be the clubs that represent the Premier League in the Champions League and Europa League this campaign would be the clubs that do so again next season.

That would be unfair on Leicester who sit third in the table; Tottenham would be the real winners by gaining entry to Europe’s elite competition. However, it’s not unrealistic to think that Spurs would have been able to qualify for the Champions League were the season to finish.

If City lose their appeal against their European ban and cannot play in Europe next season then Leicester should be awarded their place.

Playing games behind closed doors is becoming an option but not a safe one. It seems that finishing the season behind closed doors would be because of greed and not because it is safe to do so.

If the league does not finish there will be a lot of complications with sponsorship and prize money but better to have those complications to figure out than carrying out games when it isn’t safe to do so.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores away in Salzburg during the Champions League group stages. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores away in Salzburg during the Champions League group stages. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire

If the league does recommence behind closed doors and Liverpool were to get the points needed to win the title, no matter what, thousands of Liverpool supporters will flock to wherever it is that Jurgen Klopp’s side claim the title whether they are left into the stadium or not.

Liverpool deserve to win the title but not at the cost of people’s lives and the chance of the virus spreading even more. Hopefully, the authorities can find a safe way of concluding the Premier League but I don’t think playing behind closed doors is one of these safe ways.

The Premier League attracts tens of thousands of spectators whereas, it’s much easier to play games behind closed doors in the smaller leagues where the league doesn’t get anywhere near as much supporters.

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