UEFA released a statement on their official website yesterday following a video conference with representatives of all 55 of their member nations advising that Football Associations should continue to look at ways of completing the season.
The recommendation was made that if seasons cannot be completed, qualification for UEFA competitions should be on merit. Options of running domestic seasons before and alongside remaining UEFA competition fixtures were also discussed further.
What does this latest update mean for Chelsea? The Chelsea Presser will try to summarise this in simple terms.
The bottom line is that not an awful lot has changed either in terms of UEFA’s guidance or the Coronavirus situation in the UK. European football’s governing body still hope to avoid the headache of incomplete seasons while they are open to pushing their own tournaments back to allow the completion of domestic competitions.
The one thing which is a little different is that UEFA now also seem willing to allow domestic and European fixtures to run in parallel, possibly something of an admission that the season may not be in a position to return until very late in the summer.
The instruction of awarding European qualification fairly and on merit if the season cannot be completed can be classed as new guidance and you would hope that Chelsea would therefore be awarded a UEFA Champions League place, qualifying via an average points per game basis in the English Premier League. The position surrounding Manchester City’s two-year European competition ban is unchanged, giving The Blues that further security of surely participating in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
While UEFA discussed the situation again yesterday, the bottom line is that nobody knows what the future holds. English Premier League fixtures would require over 100 people present including players, managers, coaching staff and medical staff to name a few. In the current climate, playing behind-closed-doors would need the Government’s stamp of approval but with social distancing set to stay, there is no real answer when it comes to Chelsea’s return to action.
UEFA’s hopes of the season restarting and being brought to completion by autumn seems a nice prospect in an ideal world but the threat of Coronavirus will still be present and you simply cannot see this being an option.
We think that the likely conclusion may have to be to end the season and settle standings on points per game, a decision which will disappoint the English Premier League but would hopefully confirm Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League qualification.