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SPFL Asks Clubs To Terminate The Season

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Posted (edited)

I get the feeling we're going to be railroaded out of the premier league one way or another....be it something akin to this or shuffled out of the back door via some kind of behind closed doors , nuetral ground, quarantined setting...which is almost as unsatisfactory.

My concern then is whether the door is then closed behind us should there then be some sort of convoluted , reduced Championship season, the season afterwards making it harder to go up.

Yes...it would be harsh on the likes of Liverpool,Leeds, Coventry etc....but the fact is , this pandemic has occured in THIS season...not in future ones (yet)...and therefore THIS is the one that cannot be completed within a reasonabe timeframe and played in normal conditions and should be declared void

 

Edited by GJL Mid-Norfolk Canary
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Posted (edited)

As the Belgian league has announced an end to the season. Bruges announced as champions and one team promoted from league below. No teams relegated....is this a precedent EPL might follow?

Edited by sonyc
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5 hours ago, sonyc said:

As the Belgian league has announced an end to the season. Bruges announced as champions and one team promoted from league below. No teams relegated....is this a precedent EPL might follow?

Not yet ratified sonyc and might be overturned.

https://www.eurosport.co.uk/football/belgian-league-delay-ratifying-decision-to-end-season-early_sto7723460/story.shtml

I think it unlikely that with the prospect of a delayed start to the 2020/21 season that the EPL would want a larger league and more games, especially with the Euros already planned for July.

 

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The outcome of the SPFL's proposal to finish the lower league season may not be known until May.

The 17:00 BST vote passed with only 39 out of 42 teams having responded, with the fate of the resolution resting on one Scottish Championship club.

However, it has emerged under league rules that clubs actually have 28 days to submit an answer, and that Friday's deadline was a requested cut off.

The motion would bring the lower league seasons to an end now.

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Dundee apparently are the club maybe looking for a windfall from Hearts or Rangers.  But will get flak from delaying their vote when almost everyone else happy for season to end. 

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With a quarter of the season to go I’d be furious if we were relegated, and unbelievably, it appears some are accepting of it.

People seem to forget that there are teams just a few points ahead that now have the most dreadful fixtures coming up, on paper at least. So now we’ve earned our right to be just a few points away after the overall tougher fixtures than say Villa etc. In that respect you could argue that perhaps we’re not the worst team, and tats why everyone has to complete the fixtures fairly. We have lots of winnable fixtures coming up in this last quarter. I’m not having it that we deserve to be relegated on the back of how the fixture list has been played out thus far, that’s nonsense. It’s hardly 2 games left before the end of the season.

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On 08/04/2020 at 17:53, JF said:

That’s my concern but I can’t see how it could happen without massive legal battles that would stop next season from starting.  Bournemouth relegated on goal difference with 9 games to play! Villa relegated with a game in hand! And even ourselves could very realistically still escape relegation. If it goes to a vote then we’re screwed but that won’t stop the legal challenges 

And I fancy that every legal challenge would be thrown out of court, due to the unprecedented nature of what has transpired. It’s no ones fault that the prem league and EFL took/take the action they did/have, it was a directive of the Govt that people stay at home, which affected the game, they didn’t ban football, i was a league decision, If this goes on as expected, the season has to end some time!  With all the losses most clubs won’t be able to launch a huge legal battle.

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I'm not happy that many people have died and many more will, the economy is going to be dire for some time and I can't play golf. So if we get relegated then so be it. There are worse things in life happening right at this moment.

Get a grip people.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, keelansgrandad said:

I'm not happy that many people have died and many more will, the economy is going to be dire for some time and I can't play golf. So if we get relegated then so be it. There are worse things in life happening right at this moment.

Get a grip people.

There are always worse and more important things happening in life than football. Doesn’t mean you can’t have an opinion on both though does it

Edited by JF
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37 minutes ago, City 2nd said:

And I fancy that every legal challenge would be thrown out of court, due to the unprecedented nature of what has transpired. It’s no ones fault that the prem league and EFL took/take the action they did/have, it was a directive of the Govt that people stay at home, which affected the game, they didn’t ban football, i was a league decision, If this goes on as expected, the season has to end some time!  With all the losses most clubs won’t be able to launch a huge legal battle.

I don’t think it would. The season can only be completed after each team has played each other twice. Hence the null and void being the likely only available option if it’s cancelled 

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6 minutes ago, keelansgrandad said:

I'm not happy that many people have died and many more will, the economy is going to be dire for some time and I can't play golf. So if we get relegated then so be it. There are worse things in life happening right at this moment.

Get a grip people.

Well said KG. Football is immaterial in the current situation we find ourselves in and anyone suggesting otherwise, and getting annoyed about how this season ends should thank their lucky stars they are alive and well.

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3 minutes ago, JF said:

I don’t think it would. The season can only be completed after each team has played each other twice. Hence the null and void being the likely only available option if it’s cancelled 

I agree with you, but any legal challenge to such an outcome would be futile. In criminal law the burden of proof is “beyond all reasonable doubt”, in civil law its “the balance of probabilities” that something occurred and why it occured. I don’t see that either scenario fits the criteria of any legal challenge.

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On 08/04/2020 at 19:15, lake district canary said:

This.  If the season is cancelled, no clubs should go down and no clubs should go up. Anything else would be a travesty of any kind of natural justice, let alone the legal aspects of it.  That is why I keep banging on about completing the games, however long it takes - it is the only reasonable way of moving forwards - it is much better than just not promoting or relegating anyone one and vastly better than some false arrangement to put teams up or down.

I agree entirely with your first sentence and completely disagree with the rest.

Of course there is no good solution otherwise there wouldn't be this ongoing discussion. But this season has been a train wreck, especially in the PL where their ludicrous VAR implementation has already ruined many of the games already played (and in many cases skewed the results), and now in all leagues this long suspension which has for all practical purposes ended the season.

IMO there is absolutely no benefit or sense in trying to manufacture an artificial end to this season and impacting on the chances of a proper 2020/21 season - it may turn out that isn't feasible either but If it is then that is surely our best chance of getting back to some sort of normality?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, City 2nd said:

And I fancy that every legal challenge would be thrown out of court, due to the unprecedented nature of what has transpired. It’s no ones fault that the prem league and EFL took/take the action they did/have, it was a directive of the Govt that people stay at home, which affected the game, they didn’t ban football, i was a league decision, If this goes on as expected, the season has to end some time!  With all the losses most clubs won’t be able to launch a huge legal battle.

I don't think they would be thrown out - forget about the footballing aspects of titles, promotion and relegation. Professional football, and especially the Premier League is not a sport it is a business, and it is a business with a raft of tightly drawn contracts at a whole series of levels. The legal challenges won't be about Liverpool winning the title without the season finishing, or us being relegated on the same basis, they will be about the huge financial losses incurred by some clubs through the PL (and others) breaching their contracts in an attempt to artificially end the season.

Of courses cases like these will hit the headlines but I can't see why the courts would treat them any differently to any other commercial disputes about breach of contract.

It is now crystal clear that, for reasons entirely outside the footballing authorities control, this season cannot be completed within the rules of competitions or subject to the existing contractual commitments. Perhaps someone with some real legal expertise could explain whether/how force majeure applies here but seems to me that nulling the season is probably the only option that won't face successful legal challenges.

 

 

Edited by Creative Midfielder
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1 hour ago, Creative Midfielder said:

I don't think they would be thrown out - forget about the footballing aspects of titles, promotion and relegation. Professional football, and especially the Premier League is not a sport it is a business, and it is a business with a raft of tightly drawn contracts at a whole series of levels. The legal challenges won't be about Liverpool winning the title without the season finishing, or us being relegated on the same basis, they will be about the huge financial losses incurred by some clubs through the PL (and others) breaching their contracts in an attempt to artificially end the season.

Of courses cases like these will hit the headlines but I can't see why the courts would treat them any differently to any other commercial disputes about breach of contract.

It is now crystal clear that, for reasons entirely outside the footballing authorities control, this season cannot be completed within the rules of competitions or subject to the existing contractual commitments. Perhaps someone with some real legal expertise could explain whether/how force majeure applies here but seems to me that nulling the season is probably the only option that won't face successful legal challenges.

 

 

CM, as a layman (but even if I was an expert) I would  hesitate to say what legal challenges might be successful. I would say that the only outcome to this season that might - I stress might - not get legally challenged at all would be if it is sooner or later played to a finish. Even that would probably be challenged on the basis that playing behind closed doors, if that was how it panned out, was unfair.

But voiding would be challenged by the.likes of Leeds and WBA precisely in the basis of it having been possible to have played the season to a finish eventually. And one contract lawyer put the chances in those circumstances of Leeds etc succeeding at 50:50.

And sorting out promotion and relegation, or just promotion, on the basis of the league positions are they are now would definitely be challenged, and I imagine with a high likelihood of success.

 

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Posted (edited)

You might be right @PurpleCanary and I certainly don't have any legal expertise.

But my layman's understanding, for what its worth, is that nulling, i.e. failing to fulfill contracts due to circumstances beyond their control\prohibition by the government etc would be very defensible (force majeure??).

Whereas 'fulfilling' the contracts in a way that breaches the terms and conditions, especially in a way that inevitably favours some parties and penalises others, isn't defensible - especially when the losses being incurred are in multi millions.

That may all be complete pish but that is the way I see it at the moment - the original stated intention of trying to complete the season was clearly absolutely right whilst there was still a chance of completing by 30th June. But that surely is no longer even a remote possibility and that is a cut off date in many senses. I mean I saw a report a week or two ago that UEFA had said that players contracts would be automatically extended - I presume that they actually said something quite different which would perhaps allow players contracts to be extended (by mutual agreement??) because I don't believe UEFA can simply rewrite employment law. And I presume there are masses of other contracts, sponsorships etc which cut off - TV may actually be a smaller problem (at least in the UK) as I don't think they change this June.

But overall seems to me that June 30th is a very hard cut off date beyond which we can't really go, although I don't doubt that your lawyer friend has good grounds for saying what he did. A very interesting question though would be at what point do the EPL & FA have to make a decision before they create a whole series of further problems by impacting next season.

The whole thing is a mess and, for once, not of the footballing authorities making but still think that nulling is the only 'clean' way out of it even though it does seem very harsh on Leeds etc, and even more so on a handful in the lower leagues who I believe are already in a mathematically safe promotion spot. But it is after all only football and perhaps the much bigger problem even within football itself is not so much clubs going up or down but clubs going bust - that really would be harsh but I suspect we are going to see quite a few.

 

Edited by Creative Midfielder

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On 08/04/2020 at 19:00, GJL Mid-Norfolk Canary said:

I get the feeling we're going to be railroaded out of the premier league one way or another....be it something akin to this or shuffled out of the back door via some kind of behind closed doors , nuetral ground, quarantined setting...which is almost as unsatisfactory.

My concern then is whether the door is then closed behind us should there then be some sort of convoluted , reduced Championship season, the season afterwards making it harder to go up.

Yes...it would be harsh on the likes of Liverpool,Leeds, Coventry etc....but the fact is , this pandemic has occured in THIS season...not in future ones (yet)...and therefore THIS is the one that cannot be completed within a reasonabe timeframe and played in normal conditions and should be declared void

 

We won’t be “railroaded”, we haven’t got enough points, we deserve to go down!

Why should there be special measures for the following season? If we are good enough, we will bounce back!

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From purely an NCFC perspective we would legally challenge (or at least I would hope we would) any decision to try and relegate us without having completed all the matches. This is not criminal law and no doubt has to be removed, a simple binary decision for the courts.

What happens in the lower leagues is of no concern to NCFC no matter how difficult it is for the EPL and EFL. However, should the EPL wish to compensate NCFC for the financial loss then £100m plus parachute payments is the sort of number we should be looking at. Whoever else is deemed relegated would deserve the same.

As soon as you relegate teams from the EPL the issue is who will replace them and that will create an absolute **** storm in the EFL with lawsuits for breach of contract flying around everywhere. 

The realistic options have to be complete the season or null and void. Overlay the real world of COVID-19 with nearly a 1000 deaths a day nobody is going to be running around on a football pitch anytime soon.

 

 

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I've got no legal training either but I can't agree that Leeds would have a 50/50 chance of challenging a voided season. The court system in this country is likely to take a very dim view of football clubs wasting their time by arguing against common sense decisions. 

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9 hours ago, Creative Midfielder said:

You might be right @PurpleCanary and I certainly don't have any legal expertise.

But my layman's understanding, for what its worth, is that nulling, i.e. failing to fulfill contracts due to circumstances beyond their control\prohibition by the government etc would be very defensible (force majeure??).

Whereas 'fulfilling' the contracts in a way that breaches the terms and conditions, especially in a way that inevitably favours some parties and penalises others, isn't defensible - especially when the losses being incurred are in multi millions.

That may all be complete pish but that is the way I see it at the moment - the original stated intention of trying to complete the season was clearly absolutely right whilst there was still a chance of completing by 30th June. But that surely is no longer even a remote possibility and that is a cut off date in many senses. I mean I saw a report a week or two ago that UEFA had said that players contracts would be automatically extended - I presume that they actually said something quite different which would perhaps allow players contracts to be extended (by mutual agreement??) because I don't believe UEFA can simply rewrite employment law. And I presume there are masses of other contracts, sponsorships etc which cut off - TV may actually be a smaller problem (at least in the UK) as I don't think they change this June.

But overall seems to me that June 30th is a very hard cut off date beyond which we can't really go, although I don't doubt that your lawyer friend has good grounds for saying what he did. A very interesting question though would be at what point do the EPL & FA have to make a decision before they create a whole series of further problems by impacting next season.

The whole thing is a mess and, for once, not of the footballing authorities making but still think that nulling is the only 'clean' way out of it even though it does seem very harsh on Leeds etc, and even more so on a handful in the lower leagues who I believe are already in a mathematically safe promotion spot. But it is after all only football and perhaps the much bigger problem even within football itself is not so much clubs going up or down but clubs going bust - that really would be harsh but I suspect we are going to see quite a few.

 

CM, I don't know but my amateur guess would be that if the government ordered the football authorities to void this season as if it never happened and to start 2020-21 when feasible that would indeed count as force majeure. But I don't see this government doing that. On the contrary the signs are it wants to complete this season with a 'festival of football' to take people's minds off this crisis.

Whereas if it was the football authorities who made the decision then the question would be what was the plan. If the plan was to void this season so 2020-21 could be started roughly on time and played completely, and that looked realistic, then the likes of Leeds etc might find it hard to argue against that. Scrap one season to save the next.

But if this season gets voided with no realistic prospect of that move enabling the next season to be completed then I could imagine Leeds etc would have a good case (which is not to say necessarily a winnng case) that voiding was a pointless exercise and that logic dictated you should at least finish this season when feasible.

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30 minutes ago, Dr Greenthumb said:

We won’t be “railroaded”, we haven’t got enough points, we deserve to go down!

Why should there be special measures for the following season? If we are good enough, we will bounce back!

We can’t make that judgement until everyone has played everyone twice. Nothing has been decided yet

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13 minutes ago, PurpleCanary said:

But if this season gets voided with no realistic prospect of that move enabling the next season to be completed then I could imagine Leeds etc would have a good case (which is not to say necessarily a winnng case) that voiding was a pointless exercise and that logic dictated you should at least finish this season when feasible.

Fair point, there is definitely no certainty at the moment that next season will even be able to start on, or close to, time although I'm still struggling to see how this season can be extended beyond the next two and half months. A lot of players' contracts will end then and even those still in contract will potententially be able to seek transfers.... especially in the EPL and Champs we have a large contingent of foreign players who for a variety of reasons may welcome the opportunity to return home or move elsewhere.

I don't know but it just doesn't seem feasible to me. I suppose the other factor outside UK control is what other leagues, especially but not exclusively, the Europeans decide to do. I don't get the impression that there is any real international consensus emerging and different leagues could well make their own decisions.

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1 hour ago, Capt. Pants said:

The realistic options have to be complete the season or null and void. Overlay the real world of COVID-19 with nearly a 1000 deaths a day nobody is going to be running around on a football pitch anytime soon.

 

 

Basic common sense.👍

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The transfer of Johnny May from Leicester Tigers to Gloucester has really thrown a spanner in the works regarding contracts. May will be eligible to play for Gloucester from 1 July. It is unlikely that the Premier League will be completed by then and the clubs want to play out the season as relegation is uniquely sorted anyway.

The lawyer representing the club and the player has said that if there is a dispute about May playing it will be restraint of trade. So let alone who wins anything after the matches are completed, the games may not even go ahead.

The sensible thing would be to make the season null and void now. Then any legal arguments may (excuse the pun) be sorted before next season. Leaving it any later is going to cause no end of problems.

See sense league officials. 

As an aside, RFU have sorted out all promotion and relegation with all the other leagues and clubs know already who they will be playing next season and maybe also being able to formulate some sort of budget.

Once again, football dithers. How about the Nero Football League?

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I doubt football will be played again until August at the earliest. That makes finishing the season nonsensical unless they null and void the whole of next season. That would incur far bigger losses for everyone.

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Gordon Taylor ( I know) seemed to have that union man certainty the other day that we have until end 2020 to complete season2019/20.  Maybe he's  right.

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