The Premier League could feature 22 teams next season

  • Rob Swan

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown English football – and, indeed, football everywhere – into chaos.

All sport pales into insignificance right now, of course – health is obviously the most important thing – but the situation still presents unprecedented challenges to the people in power.

What happens now? Does the 2019-20 season resume at a later date? Will the campaign be voided altogether? There are so many unanswered questions at the moment.

Whatever the outcome, there will be clubs who are left satisfied and many others who aren’t.

Liverpool are still likely to be crowned Premier League champions, even if the season is cancelled, according to the Telegraph. But, like the alternatives, this decision would still be hugely controversial.

If this happens, then would the teams currently in the bottom three of the table – Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich City – be relegated to the Championship?

This would have huge financial implications for the aforementioned clubs, who would surely challenge the decision through the courts. Therefore, it seems unlikely that this will happen.

The Telegraph, however, have revealed a proposal could be made which may satisfy the majority of teams.

Instead of 20 clubs, the Premier League would be comprised of 22 teams next season, with the Championship’s current top two being promoted to the top-flight.

Leeds United and West Brom – first and second in the Championship, respectively, at present – would subsequently become Premier League clubs.

To deal with the increase in Premier League fixtures, the EFL Cup would be postponed for one year.

And at the end of the season, five clubs – rather than three – would be relegated to the Championship, leaving the Premier League with 20 teams again.

This might sound a little far-fetched but nothing can be ruled out right now. These are unprecedented times.

And this might be the only way to satisfy the majority of clubs.

But what about Champions League qualification? Well, the Telegraph add that one suggestion would be to allow teams who qualified for this season’s tournament to keep their places next term.

Any additional clubs currently in qualification positions would then enter an expanded qualifying phase.

So, third-placed Leicester City would go into a qualifying round for the Champions League, with Liverpool, Manchester City – subject to the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturning their ban – Chelsea and Tottenham retaining their places for the tournament.

But this proposal would almost certainly be objected by Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United, who are all above eighth-placed Tottenham in the table as things stand.

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