Former Leeds United defender Stephen Warnock has set tongues wagging after claiming it would be unfair if the Whites were promoted if the 2019/20 season is cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The EFL announced last week that the season was on hold until, at least, April 3, although it remains to be seen if – rather than when – play resumes with the situation worsening by the day.
The outbreak is believed to be pushing the government toward issuing a total clampdown in the UK, which would throw further doubt over the likelihood of the 2019/20 campaign being played out to its fullest.
Some potential solutions include expanding next season’s Premier League to 22 sides with none of the current 20 occupants relegated, while the Championship’s current top-two – West Bromwich Albion and we – join the elite in a season where five sides would eventually drop down to the second-tier.
Warnock is not a fan of that suggestion, and would rather see no side earn promotion having not completed a full campaign and been declared mathematically as the best of the Championship’s 24 outfits.
“When you look at promotion from the Championship into the Premier League, there is talk of two teams coming up and having a 22-team league,” Warnock said while speaking on Sky Sports, via quotes by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
How should the EFL deal with coronavirus?
Continue the season when it is safe
Declare the season on current table
Declare the season null and void
“How is that fair on the teams that are fighting in the Play-Off positions? It is not fair at all and there are problems. I have heard debates about Play-Offs and things like that, but we get to the stage now where football is all about your manager and your squad and how you manage players within that time-frame.
“This could end up being a time-frame where players come back to full fitness, squads suddenly change, you have suddenly got a full squad. You could come back in two or three months with a fully fit squad and it could turn this season on its head.
“There is so much to take into account, it is just so difficult to know what is right.”
At present, Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites sit one-point clear of West Bromwich Albion at the top of the Championship table and the Baggies hold a six-point advantage over the Play-Off places, while Bristol City, Millwall, Cardiff, Blackburn and Swansea are all within a win of sixth-placed Preston.
Here are some of the messages shared as fans reacted to Warnock’s Whites-related coronavirus claim…
Never liked or rated him.
— John E. Jay (@JohnEJay6) March 16, 2020
Life’s not fair. Should’ve played better over last 37 games!
— Pete (@35Pete3) March 16, 2020
There is a big difference between unfair and unjust Leeds not to go up would be unjust, wind your neck in warnock
— Paul savage (@Savplast60) March 16, 2020
In the Championship it is pretty simple. WBA and Leeds are more likely than not to go up. All other teams are more likely to NOT go up. In other divisons I think it would be more unfair.
— Jakob Steinnes (@StJakob) March 16, 2020
Won’t happen . Prem don’t want it
— Mike (@Mike69846200) March 16, 2020
The most likely outcome is that the 2020/21 season is cancelled and we finish this season whenever. The ‘next’ season will be 2021/22.
— Best of the Bets (@botbforum) March 16, 2020
Why not stop the season & have the playoffs anyway?
— Andy S (@Spitfire_Chap) March 16, 2020
Doesn’t matter which way you look at it, someone will be missing out. It’s a really tough situation!
— Antony Carl Higgs (@AntonyCarlHiggs) March 16, 2020
And how is it fair that the team top of the league after 37 games misses out . The other 23 teams have had 37 games to beat us. Why ignore that for the sake of 9 unplayed gamrs
— Dan Fawcett (@fawcett_dan) March 16, 2020
In other Leeds United news, the club have reportedly informed a European side of our intent to purchase one of their young talents.