Football

Celtic set to be handed Premiership title as potential coronavirus crisis solution emerges


Celtic are set to be awarded the Scottish Premiership title, it has sensationally been claimed. The Scottish Professional Football League is attempting to resolve a way forward amid the coronavirus pandemic that has ground professional football across Europe to a halt. The Belgian Pro League broke ranks on Thursday by declaring, subject to ratification, that its current standings would be made final, resulting in Club Brugge being handed the title.

Scotland could be set to follow, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that the need for income is pushing clubs towards bringing the 2019/20 campaign to an end as opposed to resuming play further down the line.

Clubs have flagged concerns about their cash flow, with many planning to furlough staff.

Once the 2019/20 campaign is declared complete, the revenue from final placings would be distributed easing financial worries.

The option of completing the season behind closed doors has been all but ruled out because it would require emergency services on standby.

If the report is correct then the SPFL would be on collision course with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who has warned leagues their teams’ spots in next year’s European competitions would be in jeopardy if they fail to complete fixtures.

Speaking after the Belgian Pro League announcement, Ceferin said: “This is not the way. Solidarity is not a one-way street.

“You cannot ask for help and then decide for yourself whether it is convenient.

“That’s why I say: Belgium and the other leagues that are thinking of cancelling the season risk participating in European competitions next year.

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“UEFA requires that the competitions, if justified, be played. Without supporters if necessary.

“Football is absolutely not the same without fans.

“But it’s better to have football back on TV without supporters than no football at all.”

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has gone public about his belief that the table-toppers, who hold a 13-point lead over Rangers, should be awarded the title if the season is not completed.

Speaking last month, Lennon said: “If it was to stop now I would doubt very much that they would say it was null and void.

“It could be death by a thousand cuts. We have played over 30 games, that’s well over two thirds of the season so we should be declared champions.

“Certainly, if you are talking about the Armageddon of the league being cancelled or stopped, it should go on the average points total which would make us clear champions and rightly so.

“We are over 30 games in to the season, they are not going to take that away from us.”



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