CORONAVIRUS

UEFA will make current leaders champions if leagues can not be concluded

UEFA will meet with representatives of all 55 European federations on Tuesday to set about resolutions to determine league winners, European competition qualifiers and promoted and relegated clubs.

UEFA will make current leaders champions if leagues can not be concluded
MIGUEL RUIZ/FCBARCELONA DIARIO AS

UEFA has summoned its 55 European federations to a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the reorganisation of their respective leagues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At Tuesday’s meeting, UEFA will have to set out three fundamental resolutions: postponement of the European Championships until 2021; choosing the format for concluding European competitions and selecting a unified criteria for deciding on league winners, promoted and relegated teams, and European qualifying spots to ensure “fairness and equal merit” when it comes to determning who will compete in next season’s Champions League and Europa League.

Regarding the determination of league winners, UEFA president, Aleksander Čeferin, has already confirmed he is in favour of choosing the team that was leader of each championship at the time that each league was respectively suspended.

However, many believe such a measure will not be necessary due to the likely postponement of Euro 2020, which would free up dates to conclude the league fixtures in the summer. But that of course will depend on whether the coronavirus crisis has eased off enough by then to resume matches.

If not, UEFA would determine the qualifying teams for the next editions of the Champions League and the Europa League by taking into account the league standings at the moment that leagues were respectively suspended.

The European governing body would not get involved in determining criteria for relegated and promoted clubs, allowing the respective leagues to choose their own format. However, it would advise using the same criteria for determining the league champion.

If LaLiga cannot be completed, Barcelona would be named league winners according to the UEFA directive.

Past precedents

Only once has there been a similar precedent in European football. In 1999, UEFA, then under the leadership of Sweden’s Lennart Johansson, decided to award the Yugoslavian league title to Partizan Belgrade, who was the leader of the championship when it had to be suspended ten days from its conclusion due to the outbreak of the Balkans War.

LaLiga situation

Regulations in Spain state that "the final classification of the competition will have to be decided by mutual agreement between LaLiga and the Federation”. However, in case of disagreement, "it will be the president of the Federation... who will make the final decision".

While almost all of the European leagues have an identical article in relation to this situation, many of them would prefer that UEFA sets the criteria so as to avoid conflicts with their own clubs. Spanish Football Federation president, Luis Rubiales, would be one of the figures to have decision-making capacity on the matter, as he is also vice-president of UEFA following his election to the post in May, 2019.