According to the BBC, Uefa are set to confirm that they will use sporting merit rather than club coefficient to decide which teams will qualify for European competitions in 2020/21 if domestic seasons can’t be completed.
It emerged yesterday that using the club coefficient system to decide such matters would be raised at today’s ‘showdown’ talks between the governing body’s 55 member nations.
Had Uefa agreed, Arsenal, thanks to having the fourth best coefficient in the Premier League, would have benefitted at the expense of several sides above them in the current rankings to take a spot in the Champions League.
Cue excitable chatter on social media and the poking of fun at fans of Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester, Wolves and Sheffield United who would have suffered should time be called on this season.
Gooner laughter has been short-lived. Unsurprisingly, the idea did not get much traction. Uefa will advise leagues that final league rankings should be decided on either a points per game basis or by current rankings. Arsenal are 9th in the table and even with a game in hand on six sides above us, we wouldn’t make the Europa League. That would mean a fond farewell to the European trophy bonuses that were said to have been agreed by the majority of our squad as part of the wage cut negotiations. Oh well.
On a more serious note, it’s a pretty awkward scenario for the Gunners who would not only be facing the prospect of lost broadcast revenue from the failure to complete this campaign but also lost broadcast and matchday revenue from not being in any European tournament at all.
While Uefa is very keen to see all current campaigns completed, Holland and Belgium look set to call a premature halt to their domestic seasons and Scotland are likely to follow suit.
In contrast, the Bundesliga could return, albeit behind-closed-doors, as soon as 9 May.
It’s not clear when the Premier League, who are more desperate than most to complete the season, might resume, if at all.
Update – The Telegraph report this evening that there’s another way Arsenal might qualify for Europe next season. If the FA Cup cannot be played to a conclusion then another of the Europa League places may go on Premier League placings. Despite being being behind Spurs in the table, we’d snatch the place based on a points per game basis because we have a game in hand on our neighbours.