EPL: clubs meeting now to decide the future of this season amid the coronavirus crisis…

Richard Masters, EPL chiefs, is chairing a meeting amid fear over coronavirus

Premier League clubs are meeting NOW to decide the future of the season amid the coronavirus crisis… with clubs likely to decide they DO want to see out the campaign (however long it takes)

The Premier League is set to hold a conference call on Thursday morning to discuss the future of the division amid the coronavirus crisis.

There has not been a game played in the division since Monday last week, when Leicester City beat Aston Villa 4-0, with fixtures falling by the wayside over the last week and a half.

The first game to be called off was Manchester City against Arsenal last Wednesday, and then the entire league was postponed on Friday after Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus.

There is currently a hope that the Premier League will return to action on April 4 although that seems unlikely given the current situation in the United Kingdom.

Even if it is pushed back, the expectation on Thursday is that the meeting will see the league reiterate its commitment to finishing the campaign.

The Premier League is not likely to put a definitive date on a return as the government has currently advised against mass gatherings.

There is an option for games being played behind closed doors if that restriction is not lifted.

The BBC are reporting that the focus will likely be on ‘information-sharing and clarity’, with little ‘concrete’ coming from it.

At the meeting, club representatives will be shown modelling of different scenarios of how the rest of the season could play out and the financial and legal ramifications.

The league has already held talks with the FA and EFL and are in dialogue with broadcast partners.

Liverpool might be concerned, given some leaders at clubs have called on the season to be rendered void. They are just two games away from securing the title.

But Brighton chief executive Paul Barber suggested that would be ‘unjust’: ‘Every league starts with an expectation of completing all 38 fixtures, as it is in the Premier League, and we want to be able to do that.

‘Our intention must be to play the fixtures, but it’s really hard to imagine putting on a football game in the Premier League in two or three weeks’ time given the scenario we are in.

‘If we were to freeze the league it would be incredibly unjust for Liverpool to not be awarded the title, because everybody in the game appreciates what a fantastic season they have had. Equally it would be unjust for teams to be relegated with nine or 10 games to go in the Premier League.

‘I think it’s a possible option to leave the 20 teams in the league as it is but bring the top two in the Championship up.

‘It gives us a larger league, with four relegation places next season and then two teams coming up again. It has some merit but there are a lot of issues to be worked through.

‘If we can’t complete the season we have to look at radical solutions to get over a short-term hump, as it is.’

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