Coronavirus: Finishing season must top Premier League agenda, says Phil Thompson
Premier League clubs set to meet on Thursday to discuss response to Covid-19 outbreak
Last Updated: 18/03/20 4:16pm
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson hopes finding a formula to complete the season tops the Premier League's agenda at Thursday's emergency coronavirus crisis meeting.
Premier League football was put on hold last week until April 4 at the earliest in response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK.
What course of action the Premier League decides to take next will be of added significance to leaders Liverpool, who are on the cusp of their first top-flight crown in 30 years.
However, former Reds captain Thompson believes Liverpool's title bid is superseded by the need to preserve the integrity of the English game, which hinges on the completion of the season.
"A lot of people would quite enjoy the season not be completed, but certainly not Liverpool fans, myself included," he told Sky Sports News. "But there are more important things than it, notably the integrity of the English league and Premier League.
"[If the season is declared null and void], who gets relegated, who is going to play Champions League football next season? There are so many problems to sort out and the best way to deal with them is to come up with a formula of how to complete the season, however long it takes.
"I would like to think at the very top of the agenda [at Thursday's meeting] are the words, 'we need to get the league finished', and clubs were told to come with ideas [how to do that].
"There are obviously other things to discuss but that should be the main concern. UEFA have just postponed Euro 2020, that opens things up for leagues to get finished, and I would like to think that will be the Premier League's main objective."
'Where there's a will, there's a way'
Whatever course of action the Premier League takes on Thursday is at the mercy of the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, the ramifications of which will impact the footballing calendar for the foreseeable future.
In such uncertain times, Thompson has stressed the need for flexibility, adding: "Playing behind closed doors is certainly an option, as long as the players are fit, healthy and ready to play.
"The players will all be starting at the same level because the season stopped and will restart at some point at the same time for everyone one.
"If there are empty stadiums, so be it, at least everyone will know where they are and we can get the season over and done with.
"Then let's push back when we start the new season and push the end of next season on a bit more.
"When it was decided the World Cup in Qatar would fall slap bang in the middle of the winter period, everyone complained but we are having to get on with it by shortening our Premier League season.
"That tournament alone will change the format of our season for two or three years, so why can't we find a way for the Premier League to be shoehorned a little bit further down the line when are all fit and healthy?"