Now that the Championship Season in England has finished, it just shows that my concerns of the leagues that called their leagues, and awarded promotion and relegation based on points per game (PPG), lacked sporting integrity was correct.
As has happened in League One, Two, the National Leagues and in Scotland, the PPG criteria is not a fair reflection on the season as a whole. At that point when the season was stopped the teams that are in the relegation positions, were there because of their results against the teams they had played. However, this does not reflect what may have happened in the remaining games. Looking at the leagues that have finished….
In Germany, Borussia Dortmund were four points adrift of a play-off position with eight games to go and survived automatic relegation. In the English Championship, none of the bottom five teams when the league was suspended finished in the automatic relegation places, though Barnsley may still end up there, if Wigan’s appeal against their points deduction in successful.
These just show that calling a league prior to the completion of a season was not the correct way to go. Using the Americanism, the strength of schedule will influence where you are at any point of the season.
I argued in a previous post that, promotion to a league should only be to a league that had finished their season. In the current situation, Promotion to the Championship and the Premiership and relegation the other way to the Championship and League One, as the teams that had finished their leagues should have relegation. While it is not ideal that teams that may have got promotion from League One through automatic / play-offs missed out, they were not being unfairly prejudiced, which would have been the case if teams are relegated without the full quota of fixtures being played. Unfortunately, that is what has happened at Step One and Two of the English System, as well as in Scotland (I have a blog in waiting about the ‘Vote’ that ended the leagues there). I fully understand that the leagues have different organising bodies, but if the pyramid system is to be respected, there should have been a blanket decision across the full pyramid, whether it be fair or not.
My argument about no promotion / relegation except when the above league has been completed, is stated above. But what I find even harder to stomach, even if they do go with the calling of the leagues on a PPG (which I completely disagree with), is the disregard for the pyramid system. There is no relegation from the National League North and South!! I don’t comprehend how there can be promotion / play-offs for promotion and promotion / relegation to higher leagues, but relegation stops there and the remaining steps being null and void. This is unfair on the lower step teams, especially in the case of Vauxhall Motors, who had already won their league!
It is similar to Scotland, where the play-offs to get into the SPFL, were cancelled, so the team at the bottom of the league structure avoided a play-off with the Lowland and Highland League! So, the pyramid has been jeopardised. But the cancellation of the play-offs in Scotland, just expands on the mess that has been the stopping of the Scottish season. While I don’t agree with it, the continuation of promotion and play-offs has some semblance of fairness, but in Scotland, only promotion and demotion were given, so not only have they not completed the season (as prescribed in their articles of association), they changed their season ending play-offs, so three teams were completed prejudiced against, nine missed out on play-offs and four avoided any repercussion (relegation play-off) due to the place they were in, but as I said earlier, that blog will come out next week, assuming that the arbitration that is currently taking place has concluded.
Summarising the PPG method, has been shown to be very fallible, with many teams that would have been ‘relegated’ (through PPG) when the game was suspended, not being relegated at the completion of the season. Thus, I would suggest that the clubs finishing in the ‘relegation’ places, due to PPG who have been demoted, deserve compensation over and above the parachute payments that they would normally receive.