‘It’s certainly our opinion’ - Leeds chief insists season must be completed when safe to do so
PUBLISHED: 15:59 16 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:10 16 March 2020
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The current football season must be completed in full to ‘maintain the integrity of the competitions’, according to the chief executive of Premier League hopefuls Leeds United.
Leeds sit top of the Championship and seven points clear of third placed Fulham with nine games remaining, leaving the Whites on the verge of ending 16 years outside of the top flight.
In contrast, Norwich City sit six points from safety in the Premier League with nine games still to be played - leaving fans of both clubs anxiously awaiting news of how the season will end, amid the current suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think what we’ve heard from the broader football family over the last couple of days is a groundswell of opinion that the right thing to do is to complete the leagues,” said Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear.
“At the moment it’s not a time to be talking about football, it’s a time for cool heads and patience and I don’t think anyone needs to jump to any immediate solutions.
“I think the broad principle that you maintain the integrity of the competitions and when the time comes and it’s safe to do so you finish the leagues. I think everyone is starting to feel that’s the right thing to do. It’s certainly our opinion. We think it maintains the integrity of the football pyramid, the integrity of the competitions, it allows solutions to some of the financial issues that clubs are going to be looking to face.
“I think although it’s difficult to put a timescale on it, finishing the leagues across Europe is the right thing to do. We’ve heard that from Serie A and La Liga who believe that if the Euros are suspended, it could potentially provide a window for leagues across Europe to be completed.”
Uefa are meeting tomorrow to decide on the way forward for Euro 2020, the Champions League and Europa League, with a Premier League stakeholder meeting to be held on Thursday.
Various theories about how to deal with the situation have emerged, including calling off the season as void and a radical plan to end the top flight season but have no relegation, promoted Leeds and West Brom, then relegate four teams next season, with subsequent knock-on decisions down the football pyramid.
“It’s too early to speculate on those types of solutions, hopefully they are last resorts,” Kinnear continued, talking to the Yorkshire Post.
“If the only way to complete the leagues is to play behind closed doors, that’s something we will have to consider.
“We would like our supporters in to witness the remainder of the season. That would be our first objective but if it is only safe to play behind closed doors and that is the only way to complete the league, that’s also an option.
“By playing the games it helps the clubs financially, particularly the clubs lower down the pyramid. I think that’s the solution.
“I think the suggestion that the leagues are just voided probably don’t have enough support to happen.
“The concept that the Premier League would just pull up the drawbridge on the rest of the football pyramid, I just don’t think that would have the support of the rest of the football family or the wider supporting public.”