Promotion and relegation needs to be settled on the pitch, insists Norwich sporting director

By Ryan Benson 14 May 2020 2
Promotion and relegation needs to be settled on the pitch, insists Norwich sporting director

Clubs should not be promoted to the Premier League if they are unable to complete the 2019-20 Championship season, according to Norwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber.

Professional football in England has been on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no resumption in fixtures until at least June 1.

Both the Championship and Premier League appear committed to finishing their respective campaigns on the pitch, though the uncertainty around the situation means an absolute decision is impossible at this current time.

There remains the possibility of leagues following the example of France's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, which have been ended prematurely and final positions determined on a points-per-game basis.

Norwich sit bottom of the Premier League, six points adrift of safety, and Webber insists it would be unacceptable if the Canaries were to be relegated on the pitch, only to see a Championship side promoted without playing again.

"In my opinion, it needs to be settled on the pitch, not off the pitch," Webber told Sky Sports. "A big question we have around restarting is, it's fine if we restart and three teams get relegated – we look at it as though we're only six points off 16th rather than being adrift.

"But if we do [get relegated], that's fine, because that's where football should be played. Football should be played on a pitch and not in the boardroom. But the Championship has to restart and play all their games also.

“What we could not accept is a situation where we play out all our games, get relegated but then the Championship can't play - because we don't even know if the government are going to let them play - and then they automatically promote some teams who haven't finished the season.

"It's a bit like saying, we can't complete the FA Cup, but we're in the quarter-finals, we've beaten a Championship top-six team away, we've beaten two Premier League teams away, so does that mean we win the FA Cup then and qualify for Europe and we all get a medal, because the level of games we played were harder than the other teams left in the quarter-finals?

"That's a really important sporting point - it needs to be settled on the pitch, both coming up or going down."

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