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English FA draw the line at Premier League relegation

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Will not sanction voided season

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The Premier League Match Ball Photo by Visionhaus

According to multiple reports, the biggest development from yesterday’s latest Premier League crisis meeting is that The FA will “block” any attempt by the league to cancel or void the season and/or scrap relegation.

Good news for Leeds and West Brom, bad news for Norwich City and Aston Villa, and others in range of the drop. And probably good news for Liverpool for getting their deserved title.

While the Premier League is technically a separate entity, The FA have “wide-ranging powers” as per the agreement made when the Premier League was sanctioned ahead of its start in 1992, and that includes veto power over promotion and relegation.

FA chairman Greg Clarke has apparently urged the league to get their act together and draw up a feasible, reasonable, and most importantly, acceptable plan to finish the season, whether that means playing out the rest of the schedule in some way, shape, or form, or declaring a winner or some other option.

As to any progress in that regard by the league, reports so far from Monday’s meeting paint a less positive and conclusive picture.

With an increasing number of players making their voices heard about health concerns — even if they wouldn’t be markedly different from what other people in everyday life will have to face as the economy reopens — and teams still seemingly quite divided over issues such as neutral grounds, a resolution looks a ways off even as the date June 12 keeps being brought up as a possible restart date.

That latter issue could prove especially sticky as the league tries to balance some shred of perceived fairness (home field advantage gone without fans in stands, but still), sponsorships (stadium sponsors will want their exposure), and logistics (more venues mean more policing, staff, and healthcare resources needed).

Leagues who are set to restart this month, including the Bundesliga, will not be using neutral venues for their ghost games, which also makes this a hard sell for teams, including Chelsea reportedly, to accept. But the league would need government approval first and foremost to ditch the idea of a tournament-style conclusion.

And so, the debate goes on, just as the pandemic.