The Premier League must be completed no matter how long it takes

The Premier League has been suspended but whatever happens, this season must be completed.

There are literally billions at stake in TV money, to the clubs, betting slips, merchandise sellers and so on that rely on football to make a living, including those that have taken advantage of William Hill sign up offers to place long terms bets will be sitting anxiously wondering what will happen to their winnings, especially if they backed Liverpool to win the title.

The Premier League have had little choice but to suspend the league now that players and managers have been infected with Coronavirus including Mikel Arteta but it is a decision with potentially huge consequences.

The likes of Sky Sports and BT Sports will want those missing games played or reimbursed, lower league clubs will lose hundreds of thousands in matchday revenue and unlike Premier League teams they need that money. Merchandise sellers that make money from scarves, fanzines etc do not exactly have other markets they can sell their goods to.

Clubs will have to partially refund season ticket holders, refund those that have spent thousands on hospitality and what about the fans that have already spent money on travel for games in the weeks ahead.

Once you put all the finances to one side and the devastating impact that will have, you then have to look at next season’s competitions, both domestically and internationally.

Who qualifies for the Champions League and Europa League? There is no way that clubs will stand for any team qualifying ahead of them when the season still has ten or so games to go. You can take it to the bank that teams outside Champions League spots will sue like crazy, can you imagine Daniel Levy at Tottenham or even Ed Woodward at Man Utd just accepting the standings as they are today?

What about relegation, will the bottom three as it stands now just accept relegation? Would WBA and Leeds United just roll over and accept no promotion or the teams below them accepting that the top two get promotion without the season being completed?

What about the players, they have bonuses depending on how many goals or games they play, where their team finishes etc. Their agents will not just say fine do not pay up.

Then, of course, you have the integrity of the competitions. Some will argue that this delay gives an advantage to teams like Tottenham who have more chance now of seeing the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min return from injury when that scenario would not have happened if the season was completed as usual.

However, when you take into consideration all the pitfalls of annulling or just stopping the season as it is, the least worse option is affecting the integrity of the Premier League.

This season has to be completed even if it is at the cost of next season because there is no other solution that comes close to fairness.