Kaveh Solhekol, The Insider: Next coronavirus step divides Premier League clubs
Klopp acting like a champion while Brighton show the way, says SSN's Kaveh Solhekol in his latest column
By Kaveh Solhekol, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 15/03/20 2:32pm
In his latest column, Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol reveals how all 20 Premier League clubs wanted the season to be suspended on Friday but there are differing opinions about what will happen next.
The Premier League postponed all fixtures until April 4 at the earliest due to the threat of the coronavirus.
- Coronavirus live updates
- Sky Sports working to deliver rescheduled events
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Some clubs believe the season can still be completed if games start again on April 4 but others think it is more realistic to start preparing for the possibility of there being no top-flight football until the start of next season in August.
One senior source at a Premier League club says he believes there is a 75 per cent chance this season will not be completed.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he told Sky Sports News: "I can't see any chance we will be back in three weeks. This will go on for months and you wonder even about the start of next season.
"I'd say there is a 75 per cent chance the season will not be completed. There are huge questions to answer. Does anybody get promoted or relegated?
"Many clubs in all four divisions will struggle financially."
Premier League clubs are waiting to see what happens at the meeting of European football stakeholders which UEFA has called for on Tuesday.
Leading figures in the European game will decide what to do about this season's Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2020.
The Premier League would have extra time to complete this season's fixtures if Euro 2020 is postponed, but it remains to be seen if there is any appetite from players and clubs to play on into the summer - especially because the coronavirus infection is expected to build to a peak in the UK in May or June.
Three potential scenarios
If the season is not completed then these are some of the possible scenarios:
- Give the title to Liverpool and have no relegation this season. Next season there would be 22 teams in the Premier League - with West Brom and Leeds.
- The season is declared null and void and start next season with the same 20 teams - unlikely, especially because Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the table and have all but won their first title for 30 years.
- The table as it stands now is the final table - unlikely, because it would be unfair to relegate Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Norwich after only 29 matchdays.
Champion conduct from Klopp
Jurgen Klopp is a great communicator so it was no surprise to see him strike exactly the right tone in his message to supporters on Friday.
This was not the time to talk about football and Premier League titles. Klopp used his statement to show his humility and his humanity.
"I've said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things," he said. "Today, football and football matches really aren't important at all."
Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the table. Stopping the season with nine games left to play hurts them more than any other Premier League club.
Liverpool are not champions yet but their manager is acting like one.
Now have your say...
Some positive news from Brighton
Good on Brighton for making sure that casual staff who work for them do not lose out because football has shut down.
During an emergency board meeting on Friday it was agreed that some 600 matchday staff will be paid for the rest of the season whether or not there are any more games.
"That is a small thing we can do," chief executive Paul Barber said. "The vast majority of people we employ are local people so it is important we support them and our local economy."
We live in an age of zero hour contracts where millions of workers have zero job security. Brighton are leading the way on this one. Let's hope other clubs do the same.
Filling time with some light reading
Thirteen years ago I made the mistake of spending £20 on a copy of The Ball Is Round - A History of Global Football by David Goldblatt.
It got great reviews but I have never got round to reading it because it is almost 1,000 pages long and starts with a chapter on "The Prehistory of Football".
It's been gathering dust for too long and I'm planning on finishing the first chapter this weekend.
The index starts on page 933. I should get there by the time football returns.
Coronavirus - key sporting developments
- Premier League, EFL, FA Cup and Women's Super League suspended
- Champions League and Europa League matches postponed
- England Test series in Sri Lanka postponed
- Golf's Players Championship is cancelled
- F1 cancels Australian GP
- Coronavirus: NFL teams suspend travel
- NBA season suspended "until further notice"
- Euro 2020 likely to be postponed by UEFA
- ATP Tour suspended for six weeks
- PRO14 season postponed until further notice