MOT View: The options that are open to the EFL now and how they would affect Leeds promotion
The EFL has announced that they’re suspending all games with immediate effect because of the Coronavirus and Leeds United fans can’t believe their luck.
It leaves Leeds top of the Championship but potentially no nearer the Premier League than when the season started.
There are a myriad of options open to the EFL and we’ve ranked them in order of how feasible we think they are.
1. Complete the season later in the year
The Championship has been suspended at the moment and the current plan is to resume and play the remaining fixtures later. That will depend on the pandemic coming under control and there’s no guarantee when that will happen, with authorities saying it could be up to 14 weeks away. This could also depend on the Euro 2020 finals being postponed or cancelled – the former seems the most likely option at the moment. This option seems to be the one preferred by clubs who were never keen on playing games behind closed doors.
2. Finish the season now – promote Leeds and West Brom
There’s a possibility that the 19/20 season could be ended as is, with the top two getting promoted and the 20/21 Premier League playing out with 22 teams. Relegating teams from the top flight without finishing the fixture list would be fraught with legal issues.
3. Void the season
The EFL could decide that it can’t complete the fixture list and that if they can’t do this then the season will have to be struck from the records. That would mean Leeds staying in the Championship for another season which is almost too much to bear.
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4. Void the season – independent panel to adjudicate
As above (point 3) but the Premier League and EFL could get an independent panel to sit and decide the remaining fixtures in the season. We can’t see any way that wouldn’t result in Leeds getting promoted unless the panel was made up of Man United fans.
5. Finish the season through stats & data
There is plenty of data that can be crunched to come up with a best-guess scenario for the end of the season. Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site is one of the most respected prediction sites and it currently has Leeds down as ending as champions with a 98% shot of being promoted. West Brom would come up as runners-up, leaving Brentford, Fulham, Nottingham Forest and Millwall in the play-off spots. They could draw lots for the final Premier League place.
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