Leeds United could go up without kicking a ball with season 'unlikely to finish' outside Premier League

Leeds United could be promoted without kicking a ball, because the football season outside the Premier League is 'unlikely to be finished.'

By Graham Smyth
Thursday, 30th April 2020, 1:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th April 2020, 1:24 pm
POLE POSITION: Leeds United lead the Championship currently and would almost certainly go up under any data model used to decide promotion.
POLE POSITION: Leeds United lead the Championship currently and would almost certainly go up under any data model used to decide promotion.

YEP sources suggest that the only season with a realistic chance of being played to a completion is the Premier League, which would mean three clubs would be relegated and replaced by three teams from the Championship.

And no matter which model the EFL agree to use to determine the final tables and promotion places, current Championship leaders Leeds United would almost certainly go up.

The Whites have thus far maintained that, for sporting integrity's sake, the season should be played to a completion.

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The Daily Mail reports players have been informed that the obstacles standing in the way of EFL fixtures being played have made it likely that the season will not be decided on the pitch.The sheer number of coronavirus tests that would need to take place at each club, for each player, in order to get behind closed doors games played, when the UK has still not reached its daily target, would be a hard sell for the public at large.

And there is little chance of supporters being allowed back into stadiums any time soon. The risk of fans still attempting to gather could lead to issues for emergency services and make neutral grounds a necessity.

Football insiders fear that the stumbling blocks are too serious and too numerous to allow games outside the Premier League - which is working on Project Restart along with the government - to go ahead.

So promotion from the Championship, if it can be agreed with the Premier League, would come down to data.

Football Data Analyst Mark Taylor, part of the InfoGol team, has explored various data models and simulations.

"The good news for Leeds is that under every scenario I have looked at they almost always go up either as Champions or runner up, with only the very tiniest possibility that they endure another play off campaign," he said.

Taylor is not in favour of using the first half of the season to determine the final placings, because it would devalue all the matches played after December 23.

Under other models, including game outcomes to date, game scorelines to date, points and goal difference per game to date and an InfoGol simulation of the remaining games, Leeds United finish in the top two.

"You can look at the results achieved to date, account for the uneven schedule - some teams will have played more difficult fixtures than others - and see which teams would be the highest and lowest rated," he said.

"You'd base this on who they'd beaten or lost to, at which venue and by how many goals and devise ratings that best described these actual outcomes for all 24 teams.

"This method accounts for every game played and doesn't devalue matches played after December 23, which would happen if only half a season was counted, as has been suggested.

"That would probably be the fairest, the simulation route would be alot more exciting."

German football has been eyeing a return to action next month, but faces strong opposition from ultra groups, match going fans and a section of the public.