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How Europe's top-six leagues left off

Coronavirus: How Europe's top-six leagues left off before the COVID-19 pandemic

March 20, 2020 By Ali M.
Should the season be canceled, here's how the top three and bottom four in each of Europe's top leagues would look like,

Due to the coronavirus, football has all but been put on hold as the world battles to get this worrisome virus under control. This is true for Europe, the continent which is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic; with the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and Primeira Liga all being suspended for either a specified time or indefinitely.

The English top-flight, which was initially suspended until April 04, has now been postponed until April 30. LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently admitted that the Spanish top-flight might not return to action until May 16, nearly two months from now. 

While the plan is to wrap up the season at a later and safer date, this hinges on whether coronavirus will be contained or not in the near future. As a result, the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign remains under doubt. Here's how everything left off.

Here's how the title race stands

Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Juventus, Lazio, Inter Milan, Serie A, English Premier Leauge, La Liga, Primeira Liga, Ligue 1

Will the season be canceled?

There is no straight-forward answer to this question. The plan is to wrap up the season at a later and safer date. UEFA decided to postpone Euro 2020 until 2021 -- CONMEBOL did the same for Copa America -- while also pushing back the Champions League and Europa League finals by four extra weeks until late June. The purpose of this is to hand the domestic leagues ample time to complete the season.

The reasons for doing this are obvious. Everything from the title race, a spot in the Champions League and Europa League, relegations, and promotion hinge on the campaign completing. Furthermore, ending the season prematurely would bring grave financial loses. For LaLiga, the cost could be a whopping $756.8M while in the Bundesliga, that figure could reach $825.7M.

Despite all of this, as many have rightfully stated, football is not important when it is compared with the health of the general public. As a result, the season will not resume until the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

If the season is canceled, who would win the title?

This is another contentious topic which is mainly skewered by the Premier League. Since the Reds boast a 25-point lead, a huge debate has broken as to whether the current standings should be used to determine who wins the league in the case of it being canceled.

The same can be said for Ligue 1, as PSG boast a 12-point led. However, this argument does not hold the same weight elsewhere. In La Liga, the gap between first-placed Barcelona and second-placed Real Madrid is two points. In Italy, the gap between Juventus and Lazio is a single point. In Germany, only four points separates Bayern Munich and Dortmund.

When talking about this issue, RFEF president Luis Rubiales hinted that La Liga would not be crowning a champion based on the current standings, saying: "All I can say for the moment is that it's unfair to end the competition as it is right now." Only time will reveal the answer to this question.

What about the top-four race and the relegation battle?

This is another argument against ending the leagues as they are now. With several games to play, how would the relegation battle decided? Several clubs who are in the bottom three could have survived had the season gone ahead as planned. For example, Bournemouth in the Premier League and Lecce in Serie A would go down on goal difference while Mallorca would be relegated due to a single point. All can be deemed harsh.

Relegation Battle, Coronavirus, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Primeira Liga

Then there is the top-four race, which is far from over in several competitions. The Premier League is one example, with fourth-placed Chelsea all the way to ninth-place Arsenal still vying for a Champions League spot. In Spain, the same is true, with only four points separating fourth-placed Real Sociedad and seventh-placed Valencia.

Should the season be declared null and void?

This is another possibility. Some argue that since it is hard to predict how things would have ended, the entire season should be written off altogether. This, of course, would benefit some. Tottenham are one club that would benefit as they would be guaranteed a Champions League spot which they appeared certain to miss out on. Furthermore, every team battling relegation would jump at this lifeline.

This scenario does have its detractors. Sheffield, who have been nothing but impressive, would see all their hard work go down the drain while Liverpool would miss out on their first English top-flight title in 30 years despite being only two wins away from being officially crowned.

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