Asset 1

Championship Fans

By Craig Jones, 12 April, 2020

How Could the 2019-20 Championship Season End?

The Possible Scenarios for Ending England’s Second Tier, and the Potential Winners & Losers

The current Championship season remains up in the air, with several different scenarios on the table.

One thing is for sure, whatever happens in the Championship will not only require the 24 teams to agree on it, but it will also need the blessing of the Premier League.

Each tier of English football is interconnected by promotion and relegation, the Championship can’t have promotion if the Premier League doesn’t relegate anyone.

So, what exactly is going to happen this season? We look at three possible scenarios here.

A Void Season

No football fan wants to see the season abruptly ended, and it seems that each league and governing body is doing all they can to prevent it.

However, it has to be seen as one of the three main scenarios.

Voiding the season would mean we start again at whatever time it is feasible, with nothing changing. That means those in the promotion hunt stay in the Championship and those currently in the relegation places get a reprieve.

This would of course hit those at the top harder than anyone else, with Leeds in particular, holding a seven-point advantage in the race for automatic promotion.

Smaller clubs such as Brentford, Preston and Millwall are all in with a genuine chance of the playoffs this season. They’ve put an incredibly amount of work into that, it could all be for nothing.

Those at the bottom won’t want things to end this way, but Barnsley are seven points from safety and would certainly take another chance next season if it was offered.

Resume Play as Normal Behind Closed Doors This Summer

The opposite scenario to voiding the season is to play on as normal when – and how – possible.

Even if this is delayed until the middle of July, fans would unlikely be allowed into grounds by then, so games behind closed doors would be needed.

While this is not ideal, it does give us the fairest way to end – a complete finish and the chance for teams to earn what they finish with.

Other leagues would need to do the same, otherwise playing on is pointless if no one can win anything or be relegated.

This is certainly the first choice of EFL clubs, according to EFL Chairman Rick Parry, who said: “From our perspective we think it’s vital that it’s completed.

For the integrity of the football pyramid, the financial security of the clubs, finishing the leagues is the right thing to do.

You’ve already seen La Liga and Serie A come out and say they want the leagues completed and the Euros suspended so they can do that.”

The issue here is travel, Middlesbrough for example, are from the North East and have two away games in London. Will the government want, and allow, team to travel hundreds of miles to play football?

It will take around six weeks to complete the season. Next season could be pushed back if needed, with the EFL Cup & Trophy potentially being scrapped for a year to make way for that.

This would mean the middle of July being the last chance to get started, with this season ending at the end of August and the new one beginning in September.

Teams Meet at a Central Location to Play All Remaining Games from One Base

This is an idea that has been muted for the Premier League, and the Championship could certainly adapt it themselves too.

The main stumbling block here would be the need to have four separate bases and tournaments to cover each league. Could that happen?

All teams would meet up at a central base, with players and officials the only ones on site. These would all be tested for coronavirus prior to being allowed on, to ensure no infection on site.

Teams would play out the remaining league fixtures every few days, in a World Cup style tournament.

If this is scheduled sooner rather than later, the meaningless games at the end of the season between mid-table clubs could be scrapped, allowing those teams to leave and go home.

If it happened later, these could be the last games played and used as pre-season games for the clubs to get ready for next season.

By playing every few days, potentially cutting out meaningless games and doing it all under one roof, this would probably cut down the time needed to one month. It also solves questions over travelling and would provide a safe place to play.

Potential Winners & Losers from Each Scenario

The big winners in any scenario that allows play to continue are certainly Leeds United. They are the front runners for promotion, finishing the season would give them their best chance to jump back into the Premier League after a 16-year wait.

Anything surrounding voiding the season or having no promotion would mean the opposite for Leeds, complete disaster and their promotion dreams fading.

This is also the case for clubs like Brentford, Preston and Millwall, who have done exceptionally well to get into a challenging spot, they don’t want it to all be for nothing.

Down at the bottom, Barnsley and Luton would be winners should the league be voided, giving them another chance to try again next season.

It is expected that an update will come from the Football League sometime in April explaining how they are going to move forward.