Norwich City believe that both relegation from the Premier League and promotion to the Premier League should be scrapped if the final 92 games of the 2019-20 season cannot be played.
Remember: Norwich are bottom of the Premier League table, five points from safety with nine games to go.
The Premier League have admitted that for the first time they’ve discussed the plan on how the season will be decided if games cannot be played (a points-per-game model could be used to finalize the table) but the will of all 20 clubs is to finish the 2019-20 season.
Speaking to our partners Sky Sports, Norwich’s sporting director Stuart Webber revealed his thoughts on promotion and relegation being decided by points-per-game.
“In my opinion, it needs to be settled on the pitch, not off the pitch,” Webber said. “A big question we have around restarting is, it’s fine if we restart and three teams get relegated. We look at it as though we’re only six points off 16th rather than being adrift. But if we do [go down], that’s fine, because that’s where football should be played. Football should be played on a pitch and not in the boardroom.”
“But the Championship has to restart and play all their games also. What we could not accept is a situation where we play out all our games, get relegated but then the Championship can’t play – because we don’t even know if the government are going to let them play – and then they automatically promote some teams who haven’t finished the season. It’s a bit like saying, we can’t complete the FA Cup, but we’re in the quarter-finals, we’ve beaten a Championship top-six team away, we’ve beaten two Premier League teams away, so does that mean we win the FA Cup then and qualify for Europe and we all get a medal, because the level of games we played were harder than the other teams left in the quarter-finals? That’s a really important sporting point – it needs to be settled on the pitch, both coming up or going down.”
Webber actually brings up a very, very good point.
If it is hard enough for the Premier League to restart and ensure the safety of players, how on earth are the Championship going to get started again? They have more teams (24) and less resources than the PL and it seems like that the seasons in both the third and fourth tiers in English soccer will be canceled in the coming days.
Norwich are correct. The Premier League and Championship both have to go ahead and if they can’t, then promotion and relegation shouldn’t. Is it fair to promote Leeds United and West Brom, who currently sit in the two automatic promotion spots, if they aren’t able to finish the season? What are the ‘fair’ options? Who gets to decide?
The English Football Association (which is the governing body in England, while the PL and EFL are the governing bodies of the different leagues) has said promotion and relegation will stand and the final Premier League table must be decided on sporting merit if the games cannot be decided. That means a points-per-game scenario and that means the bottom three in the Premier League will be relegated and Leeds and West Brom will be promoted, with potentially a shorter playoff format in the Championship to decided the third promoted team.
We all love promotion and relegation but in this instance it is causing an almighty headache.