Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has spoken widely on what the fate of Premier League could mean for clubs like Brighton – and whether Liverpool will clinch the title this year or not.
He spoke to BBC Football Focus about how the rest of the clubs feel about Liverpool being the potential PL title winner this season and promotion and relegation. He has also suggested a 22 team League from next year onwards.
Barber has further spoken about that it would be unfair for Liverpool not to win this year’s title if the season is cancelled over the coronavirus spread – seeing that they would have won anyway, considering the enormous point lead they have at the top of the table. There was no way any team could have caught up to them.
Q. Could the Premier League be violated?
“We don’t want to go down this option because every league starts with an expectation of completing all the fixtures and we really want to be able to do that.
“Our intention must be to try and complete matches but we’ve got to put people’s health first.
“At the moment, it’s really hard to imagine putting on a football game in the Premier League in two or three weeks time, it’s hard to imagine that given the scenario that we are in.
“If we were to freeze the league, then for me it would be incredibly unjust for Liverpool not to be awarded the title because I think everybody in the game appreciates what a fantastic season they’ve had and what a wonderful team they are.
“But equally, it would be incredibly unjust for teams to be relegated when there is still games to play and the financial consequences of that are difficult, and it’s equally unjust for Leeds and West Brom to not be promoted because we know how hard it is to get out of the Championship, we know how hard it is for teams to even get to this stage of the season in the top two.”
Q. What are you currently thinking about in terms of solutions to the problem?
“There’s probably about 200-300 things on this list that we’re working through to try and prepare ourselves for every eventuality. Our priority and the Premier League’s priority is to play out the remainder of the season, that’s what we all want, that’s what the fans want and it’s what the clubs want.
“But we also have to be realistic, we really don’t know where this virus is heading, where we will be on 4th April, when we intend to start playing games, and whether we can complete the fixture list.
Q. Could the Premier League help the lower league clubs?
“The way that the football pyramid works already, we produce our income that flows into the lower league.
“Obviously, we’re in an unprecedented situation where we haven’t got down to the level of detail, that’s a decision we’d have to take to get to.
“At the moment, we’re really focused on how we can contain the virus, how we can keep our people fit and well, then we can have a look again in a couple of weeks at where we are.
Q. Could the Premier League be expanded to 22 teams next season, with Leeds and West Brom promoted?
“I think that is a possible option.
“To leave the 20 teams in the Premier League as it is would obviously help us and would help others, but to bring the top two teams from the Championship up, give us a larger league for next season, perhaps four relegation spots next season, and then two up again to get the league back to 20 for the following season… it has some merit.
Read the full interview here!