Premier League clubs at odds as no plan yet in place if season has to be cancelled

Premier League clubs at odds as no plan yet in place if season has to be cancelled

The Premier League has been left to sweat on the season reaching a successful conclusion after it became clear that the clubs are at loggerheads over what to do if it has to be cancelled.

It had already been decided that there would be no attempt to take a vote on what the procedure should be in case of curtailment due to the strong polarisation of views.

But after a long debate about whether relegation should be scrapped or decided on some sort of points-per-game basis, the best the clubs could arrive at on Thursday was an agreement to differ.

Clubs at the bottom such as Brighton are adamant that they should not be booted off the gravy train unless they have played all their fixtures – pointing to Leicester’s ascent from nine points adrift at the bottom of the table 29 games into the 2014-15 season to Champions just 14 months later.

Others, though, are keen to have an agreed principle in place before returning to action.

However, with a number of procedural matters still to be sorted in the run-up to the projected restart on June 17, curtailment is not even on the agenda for either of the two meetings pencilled in for next week.

Clubs are on standby to be called back around the table should any fixture be cancelled and a curtailment look more likely.

But there may not even be chance to get the issue resolved in time for next season, as a rule change of this nature would have to be agreed by the main broadcasters.

Indeed, without the agreement of the current TV companies, a curtailment clause might not be included until season 2022/23, when the broadcast contracts are due to be next put out to tender.

The 20 Premier League clubs did come to one agreement in their latest videoconference call, however.

The league confirmed that clubs will now be able to bring on five players from the bench, rather than the standard three, until the end of the season.

The temporary change brings the English top-flight in line with the Bundesliga, which has implemented the same measures across the past three weeks.

A statement read: “For the remainder of the 2019/20 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players.

“This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board last month.

“Shareholders also approved for Clubs to increase the maximum number of substitute players on the bench from seven to nine for the rest of the 2019/20 season.”

The new rules will allow clubs to try and protect their players from an increased risk of injuries, with hectic fixture schedule set to put a strain on the regular starters.

Meanwhile, the league have decided that a maximum of 300 people will be allowed to be present inside stadiums when fixtures resume.

The Matchday Operations Plan puts strict limits on the number of players, staff and media who can attend games.

It includes clubs being restricted to having just 10 directors and executives in the stands and just six football scouts – one from each of the opponents in the participants’ next three games.

Published at Thu, 04 Jun 2020 17:12:00 +0000