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FA crunch decision has huge ramifications and puts pressure on Premier League

FA crunch decision has huge ramifications and puts pressure on Premier League 1

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One announcement from the FA has managed to cause quite a stir among not just Everton supporters, but football fans right across the country.

The whole world is dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the majority of UK industries to a halt over the last two weeks in particular.

Football was no different.

Currently the Premier League, English Football League and Womens’ Super League are not due to return until at least April 30 after last week’s joint announcement from the groups.

But, on Thursday afternoon, even that deadline was brought into further doubt.

The FA have now announced that the National League from stages three to seven have been brought to an end, with results expunged and no promotion or relegation for sides currently in steps three to six.

The top two levels of the National League system, however, are still active as things stand – with the FA working alongside them to determine the outcome of the current campaign “as quickly as possible”.

Obviously this doesn’t have a direct impact on the Premier League in particular, which is a different entity to everything else in the English football pyramid.

But this has now set a precedent that will only increase the pressure on the top league to make a decision one way or the other.

While the National League is very different to the top division in the country and the EFL, all of its stages are still part of the same football pyramid.

There will, therefore, no doubt be those who will question any decision to have a separate rule for those lower down the league.

Why should sides lower down the pyramid be denied promotion or titles while others higher up might still have the chance for glory? Is that fair?

The FA will know that their decision will lead to a lot of very angry letters from numerous clubs in that situation at the very least, if not worse.

ESPN SOCCER FA crunch decision has huge ramifications and puts pressure on Premier League
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That would be magnified to a huge extent if it were to take place in the higher tiers of the game in this country. The Premier League could use this as a barometer for what would face them if they took a similar stance.

Beforehand, the idea of declaring the current season null and void across the board for the top divisions seemed a far-fetched concept – and to many that will still be the case.

The money involved at the top end of the footballing sphere is unquestionable, and the potential ramifications of denying titles or promotions to some of the most high-profile sides in the country is something the league will clearly want to avoid if they possibly can.

In terms of TV money and even cash dished out for potential European qualification when talking about the top division in particular, there seems far too much riding on the remaining matches of this term.

That, of course, includes Everton. End the term as it stands, and the Blues will finish in 12th – but only six points off a potential Europa League position.

Putting rivalries to one side for the moment, that eventuality would be a disappointing one for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

In short, there is undoubtedly far more to consider the further up the pyramid you go.

Cutting a campaign short three quarters of the way through to aid a season that hasn’t even started yet would be a confusing decision in the eyes of many.

But, that must now be weighed against a precedent that the Football Association has set.

The FA have now made clear that if they believe it is right for a campaign to be voided, they will take that action. How much pressure does that put on the likes of the EFL and Premier League?

While they are separate, they are still part of the same football pyramid, after all.

However, what also must be made clear is that this precedent isn’t wide-ranging. The top two National League divisions are still going, the FA Cup could still be finished – and there are plans for cup competitions to still take place next term.

This isn’t a blanket rule, but still produces interesting questions.

At the very least, the decision being taken around National League fixtures suggests that any imminent return to football seems highly unlikely.

In fact, in the hearts of even the most ardent supporters of the beautiful game, the sport has taken a back seat in the wider context of the crisis the world is facing.

As self-isolation continues and restrictions only seem to be getting tighter in a bid to stop the outbreak of COVID-19, the potential return of football only seems to be fading further into the distance.

Today’s decision from the FA will only cast further doubt over when the Premier League will actually recommence. Will it be behind closed doors when it does come back? How will the remaining fixtures be structured?

These are all debates that have been prevalent for some time, of course.

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This won’t be the first time the Premier League will see some sectors calling for the campaign to be voided, of course.

But they might now see the argument become a bit louder, somewhat more purposeful.

The point still stands that, whatever decision the top division ends up making, there is no chance of pleasing everyone. Fans are already divided.

But Thursday’s FA decision will certainly have increased the spotlight on what is already one of the most hotly-contested decisions of the modern game.

The questions and possibilities around the Premier League’s decision have now got even greater.

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