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Championship: How will coronavirus outbreak affect promotion to the Premier League and the play-offs?

17:16 EAT 25/03/2020
Jake Livermore West Brom Stuart Dallas Leeds United 2019-20
The Covid-19 outbreak has postponed all league football in England and has already had a serious impact on how the 2019-20 season is finished

The suspension of English football due to the coronavirus pandemic has caused all manner of confusion over how various leagues up and down the pyramid will be finished.

Although the Premier League has dominated headlines, there are still questions to be answered about how other divisions in the English Football League will continue their respective campaigns, with promotion and relegation still to be decided.

In particular, the Championship has major ramifications because of the financial value of promotion to the top-flight and Goal has looked at the impact that Covid-19 could have on it.

How will coronavirus affect promotion to the Premier League?

As they have done for most of the season, Leeds United and West Brom occupy the top two spots in the Championship and are six points clear of Fulham in third.

With just nine games left it would appear as if both sides are on their way back to the Premier League and there have been calls to immediately promote Leeds and West Brom without relegating any sides down, forming a 22-team league for a single season.

However, the Premier League and the FA recently appeared to commit to finishing their season, albeit later than normal, by removing the regulation that states “the season shall terminate no later than June 1.”

That, in turn, has a knock-on effect on every other league in England and all-but guarantees that the Championship will be finished in one way or another.

How will coronavirus affect the Championship play-offs?

The Championship play-offs usually take place over two weeks but it could be that the process is streamlined into just seven days or even fewer.

Each semi-final is two legs with the showpiece being played at Wembley around 12 days later, but there is the possibility that the semi-final becomes just one leg with the final taking place a few days later.

Alternatively, in an attempt to not drag the season out any further, there is the possibility that the EFL could scrap the play-offs in favour of the team finishing third being promoted.

That would remove the need for more games at the end of a disjointed season and would mean the 2020-21 season could start slightly earlier, potentially allowing for a less packed season ahead of Euro 2021.