Premier League: Clubs with 15 fit players will have to play matches if season resumes, says West Ham's Vice-chairman Karren Brady
West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady has disclosed new details of Thursday's conference call of clubs when they agreed to restart the season on 17 June, pending government approval
Manchester: Premier League clubs with only 15 fit players are still likely to have to play matches if the season resumes as planned next month during the coronavirus pandemic.
West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady has disclosed new details of Thursday's conference call of clubs when they agreed to restart the season on 17 June, pending government approval.
The season was suspended in March after positive COVID-19 cases at Arsenal and Chelsea forced the squads into self-isolation.
Brady said the latest virtual meeting of club executives featured a long discussion about “what constitutes having a team fit enough to compete in the games left to play.”
Most teams, including West Ham, have nine games remaining.
“There are obvious and genuine concerns about what happens to your match results if your club has a number of players testing positive for coronavirus , or is in self-isolation, and as a result, you simply cannot field your usual or strongest starting XI,” Brady wrote in a column in Saturday's editions of The Sun newspaper.
“Well, as long as you have 15 fit players (including one goalkeeper) made up from either your 25-man squad list or from your under-21s you will be deemed to have a team fit enough to fulfil the fixture.”
Clubs will discuss on another call on Thursday what to do if teams don’t have 15 fit players or if the season is still curtailed, based on never resuming or being suspended again due to a new spike in COVID-19 cases in England.
“The Premier League are recommending a points-per-game formula to decide the award of places," Brady said. "This is a straightforward model whereby a team’s number of points is simply divided by the number of matches they have played.
"The resulting figure is the average number of points each team has earned in each match of the season so far. And on this calculation, three teams will be relegated — what a heartbreaking end to the most unfortunate season in history."
West Ham is two places above the relegation zone but only because the east London club has a better goal difference than Bournemouth and Watford.
“I and a number of other clubs are reluctant to decide a future Premier League shareholder’s fate by formula rather than a football match,” Brady said.
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