Crystal Palace chief warns EPL season must conclude


Photo: Laszlo Ilyes (CC BY 2.0)

The chairman of Crystal Palace says the English Premier League could face protracted legal battles if the season is abandoned because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Parish says the season, which Liverpool dominated, should be completed for the sake of sporting integrity.

He added that Liverpool should be crowned champions with other teams being allowed their best shot at a league finish.

Liverpool were 25 points in front of Manchester City when the spread of COVID-19 brought its season – like those of other top tier football leagues around the world – to a grinding halt.

But the Reds may not lift the title as some EPL clubs believe that premierships should not be awarded this year.

Speaking at a media conference after the season was suspended, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged the dangers of continuing.

“On days like this football is not important,” he said.

“I think it’s common sense, but I understand very well that I’m a football manager – that’s the job I always wanted and from the outside perspective it’s a big job, people expect us to be leaders, smart, stuff like this…Maybe a few of us are, I’m not sure!

“But it’s more important that in this moment I speak as yes, the manager of LFC, but as a completely normal guy as well because in this moment… in a lot of parts of my life football was my first concern, but not in this moment and I wanted to make sure that people know that and maybe they can see it in the same way.”

The UK is currently under a lockdown with schools, entertainment venues, restaurants and sports stadiums all closed.

England’s Football Association earlier agreed to extend the suspension of the Premier League until the end of April, but have not confirmed how the remainder of the season will play out.

The suspension not only includes game days but training sessions as well.

Klopp said that during this period the internet offered advantages for unity and team bonding.

“We have a really intense, big, big group chat – the whole of Melwood are in that, the boys are really lively in that, the boys are just interested in what everybody is doing, comments on what everybody is doing – if Ox is on Instagram or whatever!” he said.

“So, that helps a lot – the mood is good. As I said, it is a challenge for all of the people as we know [and] we know that our life is still good.”

The EPL’s twenty clubs will meet on Friday this week and are expected to vote on how to conclude the season, with some teams against plans to play out the remainder of the competition in neutral grounds away from high density residential areas.