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As the Premier League and EFL struggle to come up with a conclusion to the season, m’learned friends are rubbing their hands in anticipation of an impending pay-day.
The battles have already started across the Channel, where Amiens and Lyon have launched a legal challenge after the cancellation of the French League.
Now it’s beginning to look as though some of our own teams could send on the lawyers to save them from their own inadequacies.
You would have thought with football in this country already facing losses of up to £1billion, the last thing the game needs right now is a costly legal battle.
But for some desperate clubs the price of going to court could still prove a lot cheaper than being relegated from the top flight or missing out on promotion from the EFL.
The FA’s refusal to declare the season null and void has certainly raised the stakes for those who were hoping to be rescued by the pandemic.
For some teams just outside the drop zone, the very last thing they want is for the season to resume.
So expect to hear increasingly fanciful excuses being offered up in the next few weeks for Project Restart to be booted into touch.
‘We’d really love to fulfil our fixtures but . . .’
And even if they do manage to play the season to a conclusion, there will still be clubs arguing that the final table has been unfairly skewed by competing behind closed doors, extra subs or not enough face masks.
Bottom-of-the-table Norwich have started the ball rolling by claiming teams should not be promoted in their place if the Championship table isn’t decided on the pitch.
There are 11 teams in the Championship who could argue they have a chance of getting into the play-offs.
How would they react to being told they have missed out because not every game has been played?
Leagues One and Two are expected to be called off on Friday, with the final tables being decided on some sort of points-per-game basis.
That would mean Peterborough, occupying the last play-off place, being overhauled by eighth-placed Wycombe.
But Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony is having none of it and warns: “Prepare for a legal battle of epic proportions.”
It could be an even more hotly-disputed situation in the Prem if they don’t manage to get the games back on.
Because if they use points-per-game to decide the final table then the current bottom three go down.
But if they make the weighted calculations based on home and away form, then West Ham would replace Bournemouth in the relegation zone by .171 of a point.
And as funny as that would be for the majority of football fans, can you imagine David Sullivan, David Gold and Karren Brady taking that lying down?
IT’S FORTRESS ISTAN-GULL
FOR the past two months we have been told coronavirus will change the sporting landscape forever.
And nowhere has undergone a more dramatic transformation than Brighton, where football’s friendliest stadium has suddenly turned into the UK version of Istanbul’s infamous Ali Sami Yen.
Never mind Galatasaray’s “Welcome to Hell” for this is Fortress Amex — a seething hotbed of passion which leaves visitors quaking in their boots.
How else to explain the Seagulls’ insistence that they cannot possibly forfeit home advantage if they are going to complete the season? OK, ignore the fact that they have only won four of their 14 home games all season — and not a single one in 2020.
And don’t take too much notice of the fact that their five remaining home fixtures are against Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Newcastle.
Because teams accustomed to playing in front of 50,000 crowds would surely turn to jelly at the prospect of running out at an empty stadium just off the picturesque South Downs.
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Then there is the rabble-rousing Brighton anthem which goes: “Now is the time for marching, now let your hearts be gay, hark to the merry bugles, sounding along our way.”
As battle cries go, “Good Old Sussex By The Sea” just about beats: “No one dislikes us, our marketing department will be very pleased to hear that.”
The good news for Graham Potter’s team is it looks like they are going to get their way and the remaining Premier League games will not be played at neutral venues after all.
So now we can all look forward to seeing a Brighton team who haven’t won home or away since December 28 battering all-comers at the Amex.
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