The young miss and I follow soccer on most of the world’s continents. I’ve noticed that leagues are hand-wringing (not washing) over what to do to make things fair in a system where good teams are promoted up and the bottom teams are dropped down a level. Games are suspended, and if the curve stretches out like the diagrams, sport could be shut down for months.
For the England-Wales system in the UK, here’s a thought or two.
- Declare the Premier League and the three leagues below finished with four champions.
- Restart when we get the all-clear with a half-season of eight leagues rather than four.
- The main leagues, EPL, Championship, One, and Two play with sixteen teams, and a fifteen-match schedule through the Fall.
- “In between” each league, four relegated teams and four promoted teams play a schedule of fourteen matches.
- In each in-between league, the top four are promoted and the bottom four are relegated.
- For 2021, the main leagues return to full size, playing a half-schedule (19 or 23 matches) to complete the competition.
- As for seeding to the “in-between” leagues, every team with a reasonable chance of promotion or relegation have a playoff to go up or down into the in-between leagues.
- Teams higher in the standings would get home matches in any playoff.
- Teams in automatic promotion places would get draw-odds in any match. In other words, the lower-placed team would need to win, and the higher team need only draw.