Coronavirus fears prompt seven Champ sides to ‘discuss suing PL’

James Marshment

Seven Championship clubs, including top two Leeds and West Brom, are reported to have held a secret meeting on Monday to discuss plans to sue the Premier League were they to be denied promotion.

The English game, like most of Europe, has suspended all football until April 3 at the earliest due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has, at the time of writing, killed 55 people so far in the UK.

And while there is no outline as to what would happen were the English game be ended now due to the outbreak, a report in the Daily Telegraph claimed senior club executives at the Premier League say there would be no issue declaring Liverpool as champions in a decision that could also see the Premier League extended to 22 teams to accommodate Leeds and West Brom, who currently top the Championship.

However, talk the season could be declared “null and void” were first brought to the public’s attention by Karren Brady.

And with there being no guarantee football will be able to resume on April 3, as originally proposed, West Ham vice-chairman Brady has opposed that view and says the entire season could be declared void, meaning Liverpool’s efforts all count for nothing.

It’s a view shared by BBC pundit Alan Shearer.

With fears therefore mounting that the season could be declared over, The Times claims representatives of Leeds, West Brom, Fulham, Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Preston met on Monday ahead of a conference call involving all 24 clubs on Tuesday.

They are proposing to sue the Premier League if they are denied promotion, or even if they only allow two teams to be promoted to make a 22-team division, which has been suggested.

An unnamed Championship club said: “It’s time to park our tanks on the Premier League’s lawn.”

The season has of course been suspended until early April, though given the heightening fears around the virus it is unlikely to resume until the summer at the very earliest, if indeed it does at all.


Shearer on why Leeds, West Brom could be denied

Leeds are seven points clear of third-placed Fulham, while West Brom enjoy a six-point buffer. Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Preston make up the rest of the top six.

And BBC pundit Shearer insists they should not be promoted should the season be scrapped.

Writing in his column for The Sun, Shearer says: “People have spoken of bringing Leeds and West Brom up from the Championship — but there would be uproar from other clubs.

“Sitting seven and six points above third with nine games to go, there is no guarantee they would finish in the top two.”

Shearer, however, insists not finishing the season has to be the last option considered by the Premier League and EFL and the former Newcastle striker argued: “NOT completing the season has to be the very last option on the table.

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“Every angle and scenario has to be looked at in order to reach a conclusion, even if that means a long delay before playing into next season.

“There is so much speculation and opinion. But the bottom line is that everyone is guessing, and right now there are far more important things.

“If, and it is a huge if, the season cannot be completed then there is no way you can have a winner or loser.

“As harsh and as horrible as that would be for some clubs, none more so than Liverpool,  it is the only outcome. If you cannot complete the fixtures then you cannot go handing out titles or consider relegating anybody.

“For Liverpool, it would be incredibly harsh.


“But I cannot see how it would be fair to hand them the title – despite the fact it  is obvious nobody is going to catch them.

“They only need six points to wrap it up but they haven’t got them yet so for that reason it has to be declared null and void.

“It would be very different  if the season was suspended after they had got the points to win it.

“But they haven’t and however horrible a scenario it would be, it’s the only option.

“At times like this, though, there is little point in guessing games while people are dying and things are expected to get worse.”