Brighton and the Premier League likely to complete season, claims leading sports lawyer

A sports lawyer claims Brighton and Hove Albion and the Premier League will likely finish the season at a later date as a "null and void" would be successfully challenged in court.

Monday, 16th March 2020, 2:46 pm
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 2:47 pm
Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter

The Premier League was suspended last week until April 3 at the earliest due to the coronavirus. Brighton and Hove Albion are due to play Manchester United at the Amex Stadium on April 4 but that also looks unlikely at this stage.

Uefa will hold a video conference call on Tuesday to discuss their strategy. It is widely expected that Euro 2020 will be postponed by a year, which could allow domestic leagues around Europe - including the Premier League - to conclude later.

Simon Leaf, a sports lawyer at Mishcon de Reya, believes postponing is the most logical step and that cancelling the season is problematic and could be successfully challenged in court.

“The Premier League rules stretch to 600 pages but there is not a single rule that directly deals with this type of issue," he said speaking to the i newspaper.

"All that’s in there is that the League determines when fixtures take place. It doesn’t say what happens if the season goes on longer than expected.

“I can’t see a position where they would call the season null and void with the table as it is today. From a legal perspective it would almost certainly be challenged.

"Any clubs challenging the League ending as it is today would in my view be successful with an appeal.

“They would need to demonstrate it’s not a reasonable course of action for the League to take.

"There’s nothing saying the League can’t delay the season as long as they need to. Delaying it into the summer or later in the year and potentially delaying next season would arguably be a more sensible approach in the circumstances.”