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SPFL to hold talks with European Leagues after UEFA warning

Leagues have been warned that an early decision could impact on Champions League and Europa League places.

SPFL to hold talks with European Leagues after UEFA warning SNS

SPFL representatives are to speak with the European Leagues body on Friday after UEFA advised members not to consider ending their domestic competitions prematurely.

Football across Europe is shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving uncertainty and differences of opinion over what should happen to leagues and cups.

While most leagues’ current position is that they hope to play outstanding games and complete competition, Belgian football authorities announced on Thursday that they were calling a halt to the top flight and declaring the current standings as final.

That decision was followed by a letter to clubs from UEFA, the European Club Association and the European Leagues body.

It suggested any league that was halted before all games were played could see its teams blocked from the Champions League and Europa League next season.

The letter read: “We are confident that football can restart in the months to come – with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities – and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.

“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition.

“UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions, in accordance with the relevant applicable competition regulations.

“We know how much you share with us the core values of our sport and feel your support in our mission to protect the integrity of its competitions.

“We call on all and everyone to loyally back our joint endeavours in the collective interest of European football and trust your representatives in the working group.”

The note was signed by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli and EL president Lars-Christer Olsson.

The governing bodies face a difficult decision if football cannot be restarted with reasonable time to complete fixtures before next season’s schedule is seriously affected.

However, a swift decision that the league could not be completed would give clubs clarity at a time of huge financial uncertainty, and allow them to access prize money that would be due at the end of the season, as well as claim on insurance, in some cases.

The competitive outcomes would be controversial though, with challenges likely to be made if title winners and relegation/promotion are decided by the SPFL board and not on the pitch.