Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, one of the big topics up for debate at the moment is what the hell will the Football Association, Premier League and EFL do if Aston Villa and other member clubs are unable to complete the 2019/20 campaign.
With talk of delaying the season for a few months, potential one-off Play-Offs to decide places, expanding divisions for a year (with no relegation) and even ending the campaign now given how far through the year we are – there’s little agreement on what would be the best or fairest way forward.
Others can ruminate on the title, Championship promotion, and everything else, but unless the season finishes in a natural manner, the fallout given presumed losers at both ends of each table will keep lawyers employed for months, if not years.
What's Your Preferred Outcome?
Null & Void
Delay & Finish Naturally
Expand Divisions For 1 YR
On that front, Villa are definitely front and centre of the debate. Sitting in 19th place, but with a game in hand – those potential three points move us up into 16th place in the table and out of the relegation zone, and given the outstanding game is against Sheffield United, the three points would also push them into the European places.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson was giving his thoughts on the overall situation, and he was spot on in pointing out that given the handful of games in hand still to be played, until you balance that up, deciding what happens next is massively problematic.
“It would have been a very simple solution if everybody had played the same amount of games. They should have had the brains to ensure those teams who have played a game less make those games up behind closed doors before they shut the league. The problem is the teams at the bottom, and in particular Aston Villa. Their game in hand against Sheffield United should have been played, and if we ensure everyone had played the same amount of games, we wouldn’t have a problem. Everyone would be on 29 games, the good teams are at the top, and the poor teams are at the bottom. And that’s it. How can you call a league now and say Aston Villa are relegated? If they win their game in hand, they’re out of the bottom three. They won’t call the league now, but they could have if everyone had played the same amount of games. Now we have the problem, now we’re stuck. On Thursday when the Premier League talk, they’ll be stuck on what to do regarding Aston Villa. Villa are the problem! If Villa win that game in hand against Sheffield United, they stay up, and if the Blades won that game, they’d be fifth, which is potentially a Champions League spot if Manchester City were banned!”
It’s not the only problem facing football when you look through the divisions, but it’s the only one that should matter to us.